When caring for a relative who has moderate to advanced memory loss, it can sometimes seem like they have disappeared into their own world. How do you create connection and support their quality of life when they seem capable of so little?
Music is proving to be one good answer to this challenge. Research shows that music is processed in parts of the brain that remain lively long after a person's ability to "name that tune" is gone. Hearing familiar songs brings up old memories, essentially reconnecting a person to his or her sense of self and to times past.
Music can be a fun and valuable part of your caregiving toolkit. For instance, you can
- stimulate with happy tunes, especially music with a pronounced beat. This can help motivate your relative to get through tasks, such as bathing and dressing.
- calm with soft, harmonious music that tends toward lullaby. Use quiet music to encourage your loved one to take a nap or to soothe at bedtime.