Music for dementia has such an incredible impact in such a positive way, because music really is good for you soul.
Lucy Spraggan, X Factor star, wrote a song called ‘All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ – inspired by her wife’s grandmother who is living with dementia. The words in this heartfelt song are so powerful and true, and will resonate with many families across the globe.
‘The waitress wandered across from the kitchen, she was ever so slightly singing, a song he once knew such a beautiful tune and he wished that he knew it once more’
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uLi30syZk0
The best thing you can do is to play music from their teens, or when they were young adults. Perhaps songs from a particular time or year that they may have spoken about. Songs like Somewhere Over The Rainbow, You Are My Sunshine or Amazing Grace. Special songs will jog different memories, and will bring out different emotions in your loved one. If it’s one of your parents, think about memories of when you were younger, what songs did they sing or listen to all the time? If you can’t remember, you can always ask, or sing a few lines to see their reaction. During stressful times, of which there are bound to be many, play or sing something soothing to calm them.
Just recently, awareness of dementia has been raised in a big way. We should all be aware of the effects of dementia, whether you know someone who has it or not. The effects are devastating not only to the person living with it, but to the rest of the family too. Symptoms can include memory loss and difficulties with problem solving and thinking, or language. These changes often start off being small, but for someone with dementia these changes have become severe enough to affect their daily life. They can also have mood changes, but when you play music for people with dementia, those mood changes are positive!
This excerpt was taken from www.ageuk.org.uk where you can read more about some of the amazing results and continuing studies:
Professor Paul Robertson recalls playing for a former church organist with advanced dementia. ‘She was very far gone, no language, no recognition. Someone started singing a hymn and this woman sat down at the piano, found the right key and accompanied the singer in perfect order.’
Paul Robertson also says:
‘We tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life,’
‘We know that the auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks, which means that you are musically receptive long before anything else. So it’s a case of first in, last out when it comes to a dementia-type breakdown of memory.’
Have you experienced a positive outcome to sharing music with a friend or family member who has dementia or any kind of condition that affects the brain? We’d love to hear your story, you can send us a message, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to enquire about booking a workshop, please get in touch via our contact form, email us, or call us on 07828 435299.