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Music and the Benefits of Cognitive Health


Music can help us to recall memories that may have faded as we grow older. The power of a song can trigger memories that have the ability to transport us back in time.

Studies have found that listening to music engages broad neural networks in the brain. These regions include the areas responsible for actions, emotions, and creativity. More specifically, these studies are known to recall memories and help with face recognition in seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Staying engaged is beneficial for physical and cognitive health, but it's very important for Alzheimer's and dementia patients to engage in activities that may enhance their day-to-day routines. Music and art help to maintain cognitive functions. They also provide a sense of security and can calm anxious or aggressive behaviors.

Music recognition is one of the last things we retain as memory declines. If your loved one is listening to music from their youth, that melody can trigger a sense of identity in dementia patients.

Aside from triggering memory, music can also improve mood. We associate feelings with specific songs, so having the right genre can boost mood or calm feelings of anxiousness.

Listening to music can:

  • Released endorphins
  • Reduces pain, stress, and depression
  • Offer a greater sense of control
  • Encourage movement
  • Increase want for exercise

Lifelong musical training has proven to offset cognitive decline as we grow older. By adding music to everyday therapy, seniors can improve their overall quality of life. Here are a few options if you're out of ideas on what to play for your loved one.

  • Favorite tunes: listening to the music seniors enjoy can help them to feel happier.
  • Holiday music: what is your loved one's favorite holiday music? Playing familiar songs can help improve the holiday spirit and spark old memories.
  • Musicals: following a narrative is much easier when it's set to music
  • TV Theme Songs:listening to theme songs from favorite shows can help to recall characters or episodes.

At the Legacy: Memory Support in Chillicothe, part of the Evergreen Senior Living community, we encourage individuality with our philosophy called Life Unrehearsed. Our memory care team is committed to providing compassionate care for all residents and allowing each day to unfold with peace and joy. Check out our website for more information. 

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