Music, more so than any other form of art, has the power to bring people together. It speaks to people in a way that is both moving and influential. Very few people will profess that they “don’t like music”, and with so many different types and genres, there’s something for everyone.
When you were a newborn your mother sang lullabies to you, as you got older you sang nursery rhymes with other children, and into adulthood you developed your own musical preferences. We listen to it in our car, in a store; we attend concerts and sing along at the top of our lungs. Most of us are exposed to music on a daily basis whether we even consciously realize it or not.
So when you arrive into the later stage of life and your memories fade a little and your mind isn’t as strong as it once was, what can help you heal? You guessed it: music.
How It Helps
The use of music therapy is somewhat in its infant stage, but in its short life span has proven to be a successful way of helping those living with Alzheimer’s find a renewed meaning of life. Recent studies show that listening to music engages networks in the brain, including regions responsible for motor actions, emotions and creativity.
“What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person's face in your mind's eye," Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology at the University of California - Davis, said.
Seniors living with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment are often times just shells of who they once were. They are confused and often withdrawn. Music can help clear the fog of confusion and make them more sociable, engaged and ultimately happier.
What We Do
The approach is simple. Give seniors an iPod or other device loaded with their own personal playlist featuring nostalgic music from their youth or songs that their loved ones know they enjoy. Just like physical therapy exercises your muscles after an injury, music therapy helps the brain. The results are quite amazing.
Franklin Park Senior Living has made a commitment to our memory care residents to provide this innovative therapy. For more information, check out this video from a San Antonio news station, KSAT12, that highlights how our residents have benefited from this treatment: