Music therapy improves well-being in people with dementia and caregivers


People with dementia may experience difficulty with memory and communication. Music is one form of therapy that can be helpful for people with dementia.

A new study shows that music therapy interventions may improve social interactions between people with dementia and their caregivers.

The findings indicate that music therapy may also decrease caregiver distress.

Dementia is a broad category of disorders that impact a person’s ability to remember, reason, and communicate with others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source describes dementia as an umbrella term for several disorders that impact memory, thinking, and decision-making.

Dementia is often progressive, and it can become harder for people with dementia to communicate and interact with those around them.

Some areas of difficulty for people with dementia include social engagement and communication.

This can put a certain level of strain on their relationships with their caregivers.

But a recent study published in Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders found that utilizing a specific form of music therapy helped improve social engagement among people with dementia and their caregivers. The intervention also lowered caregiver distress.

Music therapy: A non-pharmacological intervention for dementia

Medications and lifestyle interventions may help individuals with dementia manage their symptoms.

Recent research is also focusing on non-pharmacological interventions like music therapy that can benefit people with dementia.

Music therapy involves using music to help improve mood and promote well-being. And research is ongoing about the overall impact of music therapy on people with dementia.

Music therapist Scott Horowitz, LPC, a licensed professional counselorand clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University, not involved in the study, explained to MNT:

“Our sensory experiences as human beings are connected with our memories. For people with dementia or other cognitive impairments, often those associations remain even if other elements of their memory are impaired and impacted. You could play a piece of music that holds meaning to them — and that memory is going to be triggered.”

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