Music & Memories; The Power of Music on the Brain

If toward the end of your life your mind was fading away, would your favorite songs help bring your memories back? The Australian Broadcasting Company takes you inside an extraordinary program which is revealing how a personalized playlists can re-awaken the brains of people with advanced dementia and even allow people with severe Parkinson’s to unfreeze and move.

Experts are looking more deeply at the power of music in all our lives; why is it so emotional, so memorable and so powerful that even when much of the brain is gone, music can bring it alive.

This recording satisfies .5 hour for the state of New Hampshire’s requirement on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia education. Record your own progress with the self tracker. In year two, each employee is required to attain at least 4 hours of ongoing training each calendar year. Such continuing education shall include new information on best practices in the treatment and care of persons with dementia. CHAPTER 2, SB255-FN-FINALVERSION- Page3.


How can music help people who have Alzheimer’s disease?

Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.

Research suggests that listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.

For example, music can:

  • Relieve stress
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Reduce agitation

Music can also benefit caregivers by reducing anxiety and distress, lightening the mood, and providing a way to connect with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease — especially those who have difficulty communicating.

If you’d like to use music to help a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, consider these tips:

  • Think about your loved one’s preferences. What kind of music does your loved one enjoy? What music evokes memories of happy times in his or her life? Involve family and friends by asking them to suggest songs or make playlists.
  • Set the mood. To calm your loved one during mealtime or a morning hygiene routine, play music or sing a song that’s soothing. When you’d like to boost your loved one’s mood, use more upbeat or faster paced music.
  • Avoid overstimulation. When playing music, eliminate competing noises. Turn off the TV. Shut the door. Set the volume based on your loved one’s hearing ability. Opt for music that isn’t interrupted by commercials, which can cause confusion.
  • Encourage movement. Help your loved one to clap along or tap his or her feet to the beat. If possible, consider dancing with your loved one.
  • Sing along. Singing along to music together with your loved one can boost the mood and enhance your relationship. Some early studies also suggest musical memory functions differently than other types of memory, and singing can help stimulate unique memories.
  • Pay attention to your loved one’s response. If your loved one seems to enjoy particular songs, play them often. If your loved one reacts negatively to a particular song or type of music, choose something else.

Keep in mind that music might not affect your loved one’s cognitive status or quality of life. Further research to better understand the precise effects of music and Alzheimer’s disease is needed.


Scholarly articles on Music & Dementia:

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