Nov 28

Magic of Music and Alzheimer’s Disease

music and Alzheimer's diseasePreviously I’ve written about the magic of music and Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, in which I revealed how exposing patients to music from their past has been successful in reaching them in ways not attainable with conventional medical methods. It’s been shown that quality of life can improve significantly with the simple addition of music to one’s life.

In these cases, individuals with dementia were passive participants. But what happens when dementia patients are active participants in creating music? That’s when a whole new perspective on the power of music in Alzheimer’s disease comes to light.

At the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute in Dorset, UK, there is now an orchestra (called the BUDI Orchestra) that consists of individuals with dementia and musical abilities. According to Professor Anthea Innes, who heads the Institute, the orchestra “has been a life-enhancing project which has benefited everyone.” Allowing these individuals to perform “creates a well-deserved opportunity for them to demonstrate their abilities and to challenge the negative public perceptions that surround the diagnostic label of ‘dementia.’”

One of the most impressive findings of this endeavor is that most of the people with dementia learned a new skill as well as reconnected with old ones. Some of the patients had not played an instrument for decades when they were approached with the opportunity to participate in the orchestra. Being a part of the musical group helped alleviate feelings of loneliness and also boosted the patients’ self-confidence.

The musical project consists of eight individuals with dementia and seven caregivers and is supported by two professional musicians, Bournemouth University students, and volunteer staff. According to Dr. Michelle Heward, who is from BUDI, “Our creative projects show that it is possible for people with dementia to take part, learn something new and have fun, all at the same time.”

The findings of this project offer hope for those who have loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, especially when it comes to the power of music to breakthrough and reconnect with the person who is struggling with the daily challenges of this disease. If you are dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or know someone else who is, the introduction of music, at several levels, may offer comfort and an enhanced quality of life for the patient as well as their caregivers.

Also Read: How music heals your heart

How to live well with early Alzheimer’s disease

Pomegranate and Alzheimer’s disease


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