1. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    I haven't noticed many mentions here of music being used as a calming/relaxing/therapeutic measure for those suffering from AD and I wondered what experience people have with this?

    Music can be such a large part of our lives and from an emotional point of view it's something we use to make ourselves feel better (or sometimes help us wallow in self-pity :() so I would have thought the right music in the right setting could be of benefit.

    Interested to hear your views on the subject.
  2. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013
    I agree ..i take my father who has dementia to a dementia choir..and i can tell you the therapeutic value of the session is astounding..it achieves something different to all the individuals and when i see distant faces become alert...imobile people move to the music...and using songs that they feel an emotional connection with even if they cant remember the words is amazing....as a carer of a parent its is also a therapy for me to meet other carers...i also hear the benefits of the singing for the brain is also excellent..
    Music is something we connect to emotionally..and even if memory isnt too good people with dementia can still feel a connection with it..most experiences are part fact and emotion ..and even when the memory of things people places etc..there can still be an emotional attachment..to them.
    So glad music has been mentioned!

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Talking Point mobile app
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Singing for the Brain is very popular!
  4. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    We go to an Alz Scotland group once a month for singing. Everyone loves it and joins in with gusto. Last month we moved to new premises and there was room for dancing. Several people got up and had a great time. It is so good to see staff, carers and people with dementia having fun.
  5. NanLorac

    NanLorac Registered User

    May 14, 2012
    I take my husband along to a memory choir and he loves it. Although if we talk about it with family and friends he always says that, he just mimes.:)

    Have a look at this website www.playlistforlife.org.uk/. Watch the videos and you will see what music can do for someone with Dementia.
  6. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    I believe you'll find that this is mentioned more often than you think.

    My wife and I attend two singing sessions, the first a straightforward 'singing for the brain' group and the other a more inclusive 'choir' (that includes people with other conditions such as MS and Parkinson's.

    My wife still enjoys them after a couple of years though she rarely sings now. Enjoying things is great therapy.
  7. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    With my mum who had vascular dementia when she had lost all her speech and was hard to reach i played her a CD of hits of the 50s. It was wonderful to see her start tapping along to the music and smiling.
  8. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Thanks tre for reminding me about rhythm. Sue will usually tap out a rhythm on her knee even if she isn't singing along.
  9. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    I have found posts about singing sessions and group activities such as choirs, dancing, entertainers in care homes etc. but the situation at the moment is that my aunt spends a lot of time alone and I was wondering about the benefit of her having some sort of recorded music to listen to. She has a radio but I'm pretty sure she listens mainly to Radio 4 which is mainly speech.

    I'm wondering if there may be a place for low level background music in some situations or to have recorded music available in a way to make it easy for her to play (she couldn't cope with CDs or MP3 players).
  10. Miss shiraz

    Miss shiraz Registered User

    Dec 24, 2014
    #10 Miss shiraz, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
    MIL plays ukulele, maybe not that well but she loves it and her whole mood is so much better. The teacher told us she wanted a banjo but you need to be quite good to play banjo then suggested she stuck to the ukulele (enough said). :D
    The alz society lady suggested 'singing for the brain' but MIL said she doesn't like singing, altho we've seen her singing away on a You Tube clip! I think its more about not trying anything new or different environment.
    she enjoys having the radio on as she lives on her own so its company. She also likes her songs from shows cd but it gets played again and again.... and again :rolleyes:
    i certainly enjoy having some music on and I'm not the one with the memory problem, always worth a try. Did your aunt listen to music in her younger days? There's a good variety on DAB radio - Absolute 60s/70s/ 80s etc, it may bring back some happy memories ☺
  11. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    British Isles
    Familiar music can have a great effect, sadly the activities organiser at my Mum's care home does not seem very interested in providing music sessions.

    Even when Mum could remember very little about her past life, it was amazing that she could sing along to parts of familiar songs and hymns. As I was quietly singing "he's got the whole world in his hands" to get Mum to clap her hands with me one day when we were in the lounge, a lady who usually told everyone to "b***** off" started smiling and clapping and tried to sing with me.

    Sadly sinkhole I think it is the technology that will be the problem if your aunt lives alone. Unless she has carers who can turn on Cds or DVDs? If she enjoys radio 4 and doesn't know how to retune the radio you would not want to deprive her of the programmes she currently enjoys. Hope you find a solution.
  12. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    I can't agree more. My husband responds to music in a really positive way and loves to join in, clap, cheer etc! We are members of our local Azlheimer Scotland Choir.

    You may find this interesting.

  13. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    You could get a second radio for her without great expense and have it tuned permanently to the sort of music she would like. Then she would have no need to lose access to radio 4 on her other set.
  14. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    I'm quite technology savvy so I'd like to think given a bit of thought I could come up with a system which could be almost fully automatic.

    The first challenge is to find out what music she might like as I don't remember her being particularly interested in listening to music.

    I also thought about natural sounds played in the background - birdsong, streams, that sort of thing, but I'm concerned this would be confusing to someone with dementia.
  15. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Hi sinkhole :)

    My mum was never particularly musical either. However, I find that putting on a CD is very relaxing for her now ( I need to physically do it). She especially likes ballads, big bands from the 1930's and songs from the musicals. It's great to hear her humming along sometimes....few things bring her greater pleasure.

    Good luck, I hope you get the technology sorted out :)
  16. Acco

    Acco Registered User

    Oct 3, 2011
    Music most definitely helps in many ways, both cared for and the carer. Some time ago I restarted playing my home keyboard having not done so for a while; this was at a time when my wife didn't recognise me. Having started playing my wife got up and when I turned to face her she gleefully announced with a big smile, 'Oh, its you', and came over to give me a kiss. This happened numerous times and was wonderful to see that she had recognised me from the sound of the music I was playing. I have also noted many times that if there is a positive beat to any music played, be it cd, radio, or tv, she often taps a foot, feet or evdn claps in time to the beat; she is clearly happy and enjoying the music. It has become a must have in this home, so music is playing almost continually. Also, in the past when I have noted anxiety, distress, or experienced some resistance and difficulty in handling or communication I have put a cd on with some quiet, gentle, music and after a while it has definitely calmed her and eased my communications and handling (helping) of her. I have also noted that music of her teen years is recognised and improves her well being. Music also lifts my spirits, and calms me down, at those times when I am in need of relief from the difficulties we both face.
  17. Mick_P

    Mick_P Registered User

    Feb 23, 2012
    Rome, Italy
    Music has a great effect on my mum (VasD). She's a proud Londoner (though has lived in the Midlands since the 1950s) and ever since I can remember she's had a vinyl LP of old songs being sung live in a London pub around the piano (If You Were The only Girl In The World, Mother Kelly's Doorstep etc). I doubt that she'd listened to it for 20 years or more as it got tucked away with the other vinyl when my dad embraced the CD revolution.

    She moved into a care home in the summer, after my dad had died, and one day her niece came up from London to visit and a bunch of us went out for a pub lunch. I'd copied the vinyl LP onto a CD and produced this while driving down lovely country lanes on a sunny Sunday afternoon and it was fantastic. We were all singing away at the top of our voices and Mum just loved it. No, of course she didn't remember all the words, but it didn't seem to matter to her, the effect was marvellous.
  18. RolandC

    RolandC Registered User

    Feb 27, 2015

    I chair a support group in north yorkshire for a day club for dementia suffererrs like others i have always believed in the power of music, especially familiar, loved music to transform mood-for everybody, not just people with dementia. We have just facilitated the purchase of an Ipad (other tablets etc etc) to record playlists for each member; 10 songs representing stages of their lives. These will be available for members to listen to together and separately. Search playlists for life to witness the effect on elderly Americans with quite severe dementia.
  19. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    This is the link to playlist for life. Sally Magnusson supports this -


    I've put these two links on before but I'm putting them on again as I think these are the onesie which you refer -


  20. Paulyboy

    Paulyboy Registered User

    May 1, 2013
    #20 Paulyboy, Feb 27, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015

    My wife is in a very advanced state of Alzheimer's Disease and has the sub type of AD called PCA so her sight is very affected. Television is not much of an option when you are unable to focus and so I resorted to music which definitely has a positive effect on her. Mostly I use Classic FM but also Smooth Radio as they play a lot of our era music which is very evocative for both of us. Sometimes I sing along when I'm with her and on a good day she will smile or laugh gently. On a bad day she tells me to shut up ! That is the full extent of her conversational ability these days whilst being bed bound also. I leave Classic FM on low volume all night now as I beleive that is also comforting for her.
    Hope that's helpful !

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