I love music be it lyrical, or instrumental.
In my opinion, there’s nothing better than music to get you in a positive mood. I listen to it on the way to work, while writing or colouring and even before sleep. Music is magical, it has the power to evoke emotions you never knew you had and takes you back, in an instant, to another time in your life.
Now, according to a new report, listening to music regularly may also help those with dementia remember lost, or forgotten memories. New research indicates that music reduces symptoms of anxiety, and aggression as well as improves retention of information. It has also been suggested that it’s easier for dementia patients to remember songs, or rhymes than full sentences thanks to how the brain processes musical notes.
While the study admits that more work needs to be done in this area the initial findings are pretty positive. Indeed, backing previous claims that music therapy is highly beneficial. Those interviewed reported a connection, of sorts, with those who had previously been reluctant or unable to respond- because listening to music made both parties happier.
“One woman quoted in the research said of her 62-year-old husband, who has dementia: ‘Music is now the one thing I can share with … [him] that seems to give him pleasure.’ Dementia alone costs the UK over £26bn every year! However, the report, authored in collaboration between the International Longevity Centre and the Utley Foundation states that slowing down the condition through music may lead to huge savings. But slowing dementia is only half the battle as therapies mentioned are useless if patients don’t receive them.
“The report states: ‘The benefits of music for people with dementia are clear and yet why is it that so many people with dementia are not accessing appropriate music-based interventions? At the heart of this debate is the right for people with dementia to have not just a life, but a good life and to be comforted and enlivened by the power of music.’
Listening to music is a relatively cheap activity, be it live or recorded. Organising a weekly rota of community choirs, singers or local bands to play in care, and nursing homes is entirely doable. We already know that local artists, sculptors and other creatives enjoy spending time with residents and that painting, drawing or even just playing with coloured chalk helps stimulate the senses so why not musical activities?
Hopefully, once it’s presented in the House Of Lords we’ll start to see real changes being implemented. Proposals that could help those with dementia and their families connect again through music. After all, it is the one thing that we all, no matter how old, enjoy – so wouldn’t it be wonderful if something as simple as music held the key to making people’s lives better?