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Benefits of Art and Music for Those With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you want to make sure they have all of the best in care, of course. However, there is more to think about than just primary care–you want to help your loved one live the best life possible. One of the best ways to improve quality of life and mental health is by implementing art and music therapies.

Music as a Mental Balm

Many assisted living and memory care facilities have known for years that music can be a big spirit-lifter for older adults. However, there is much more to it than that. There are many studies that have proven time and time again that music offers benefits for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. A French study provided those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s music therapy sessions over ten weeks. Participants all offered positive responses–ranging from “I feel more relaxed” to “This reminds me of a trip I took with my children.” Many participants saw a reduction in anxiety and depression. Put simply, for most people; music serves as a balm to soothe emotions.
 
Man Playing Guitar
 

Art and Alzheimer’s

Like music, art therapy can also benefit those with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Art involves the use of sight, touch and sometimes sound, so it can help build new receptors in the brain. Plus, the act of creating something beautiful can improve self-esteem and improve the mood. While working with a licensed art therapist may provide the most benefit, any type of art program may be enjoyable and enlightening for a resident in a memory care facility.
 
Hands Molding Clay

Caregivers Benefit Too

In addition to benefiting those who have Alzheimer’s, music and art therapy can be beneficial for caregivers too. If caregivers are willing to participate, they too may have a reduction in stress. But, the best benefit is that it gives residents and caregivers something to connect with and bond over. It can be a wonderful topic to help inspire memories and discussions.

How to Incorporate Art and Music into the Routine

The most important thing is just to get started. Making an effort to play music at a comfortable volume during other activities is a great first step. Choose songs that may be familiar to your loved one and perhaps even those that could have significant meaning. As for art, remember that there are many different forms. Starting with coloring or painting is an excellent first step, or if there are any crafts that your loved one used to enjoy, trying a simplified version may be fun. In addition, working with specialized art or music therapists is a good solution. Some facilities may even offer group activities led by an expert.

Further Resources

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As you can see, art and music can be a good way to improve the care of individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. If you have the opportunity, make it possible for your loved one to enjoy both of these on a regular basis. Doing so may be a huge benefit to you both.

Primrose has long believed in the power of music and memory. We invite you to contact us to request more information or schedule a tour by calling us at 707-578-8360 or complete our contact form below.

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