What type of music is good for dementia patients?

Music can act as a powerful form of therapy for those living in dementia care homes.

Music can act as a powerful form of therapy for those living in dementia care homes. It has the potential to reach people living with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia who aren't able to interact using other forms of communication. A variety of research has shown that music therapy has many benefits for dementia patients. According to Playlist for Life, music has been shown to reduce dementia symptoms such as agitation, anxiety and aggression. It can also enhance verbal communication and help people recall and elicit positive memories. But not just any music will do. Certain types are more effective than others, so here's what to look for.


Feel-good favourites

Listening to favourite songs, hymns or records can put dementia patients in a better mood and make daily activities like eating or getting dressed easier to manage. Find some of your loved one's favourite songs and put them on an easy-to-use mp3 player or burn a CD. Ask him or her for suggestions, or ask your relative's friends and family members if they know which tunes might be meaningful for your loved one. You may be surprised at your loved one's positive reaction upon hearing the songs.


Catchy classics

Some songs are considered classics that almost everyone has learned. Nursery rhymes are a good place to start, but you don't have to stop there. Traditional British songs, popular rock hits and other tunes that nearly anyone could sing along to are good choices to spark your loved one's memory and get him or her singing.


Popular hits

Many people become enamoured with music when they're young, so do a bit of research to see what popular music your loved one was listening to during his or her teenage years, 20s and 30s. Even if it wasn't your relative's favourite song, chances are he or she heard it often and may be stimulated by the notes or lyrics.


Soothing instrumentals

Many dementia patients experience episodes of agitation or anxiety, often during the early evening before bed. During these times, it may be a good idea to put on some instrumental background music like lullabies or classical selections. Play it softly to encourage your loved one to listen. Hands-on rhythms Getting your loved one involved in making music is another way to improve his or her mood or relax during a stressful time. Humming, clapping, tapping or even playing an instrument like a drum or tambourine can be beneficial.


At Sunrise Senior Living, our dementia care facilities offer plenty of engaging activities that senior citizens love. For more information or to ask any questions, please select Contact us at the top of this page.