Time and time again I’m amazed at the power of music. I’ve shared many times how I believe this is the universal language and that still rings true.
So why do I believe this?
Well, let’s visit the Alzheimer’s unit and take a look:
Resident #1 has terrible flashbacks from a traumatic event as a child. Talking only agitates her more in these moments. However, as soon as I begin to sing she calms down. Before the end of the song she is singing a-long. After we finish the sing a-long, she sits quietly and is able to carry on a conversation.
Resident #2 is depressed. As soon as I begin to sing, I see her eyes light up. By the time we finish singing, she is clapping her hands and singing along.
Resident #3 ask me to sing or motions towards the piano every time I walk into the room. Piano music and sing a-longs calms his agitation.
Resident #4 cannot speak, however every time I sing a certain song she has tears in her eyes. Once again I’m reminded how this song touches her heart.
Resident #5 repeats the same phrases from a hymn over and over every time you speak with him. That’s okay, because this song has struck a chord with him and we will continue to sing the song with each sing a-long.
Resident #6 does not speak, but when we begin to sing “You are My Sunshine” or “Jesus Loves Me” she can sing every word.
Resident #7 easily grows confused and frustrated in trying to recall the information she is seeking. However, when we begin to sing she can sing the words to every hymn and oldies song. Her husband is so amazed he ask her to sing every time he visits.
Resident #8 doesn’t enjoy singing, but brightens up when we use the hand bells and wants to play the bells.
Resident #9 also isn’t a singer, but enjoys moving to music when we toss a balloon, move with scarves or dance to music. She is proof, that there are other ways to implement music other than just through singing and playing.
Resident #10 is easily agitated and does not enjoy a lot of music. She will call out and disrupt her peers. However, putting on a CD of soothing music calms her down and she quickly quietens down.
In what ways have you used the power of music to help someone that has dementia?