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The Power of Art and Music for Dementia Patients

For years, scientists and researchers have been attempting to discover a miracle cure that will prevent or reverse the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. So far, there has been no such luck. However, there have been minor breakthroughs when dealing with treatments for these neurodegenerative diseases. No cure all, but symptoms have been able to be better managed.

Often times when we’re looking for this miracle treatment, we’ll look for a pill or a shot to be the answer for our ailments. Very rarely do we think about taking a more natural approach to our health issues. That being said, for those who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, these holistic approaches are becoming more and more popular. Art, such as drawing/painting or listening to music are becoming quite popular, as more and more studies are concluding that they can play an important role in the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more about the benefits of art therapy for dementia patients below:

Art

Painting and drawing can teach your loved one a nice lesson is free-form art. It allows your loved one to fully express themselves, something that comes with much difficulty if they’re suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The colors they choose and the shapes they create can help align with the mood they’re in. More importantly it helps them, even if for a brief moment, feel more in control of their life.

It’s no secret that a loved one will begin to lose their independence after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, especially as the disease begins to progress. Naturally this causes an increase of anxiety in an individual. But with the opportunity to be totally in control over what they’re creating, coupled with the brain stimulation that comes from deciding on what to create, art therapy greatly reduces this anxiety and improves peoples’ moods. It’s a powerful therapy for anyone who is suffering from any form of dementia.

Music

Have you ever heard a specific song that has a very specific memory attached to it? That’s the power of music. It has the ability to attach various memories to various melodies. Not to mention, it requires very little cognitive input to engage with music. Tapping your toe to a beat or humming along to a song can be done when from the time you were one, all the way up until you’re ninety-years-old. Again, it’s another way to reduce the anxiety that builds up in a patient with some form of dementia.

As stated previously, those with a cognitive impairment lose some of their independence. This can also lead to a feeling of loneliness or feeling apart from a group or even their own family. These types of feelings can greatly reduce anyone’s mood. However, with music, a loved one can feel like they belong, because activities such as singing and dancing to a beat do not require as much brain power than playing a card or board game. It’s a powerful tool of inclusion that can be utilized anywhere at any time.

Try it Out!

These two forms of art therapy can be done anywhere! When it comes to drawing or painting, all you need are a few art supplies like a blank canvas or an empty sketchbook, a set of crayons or paints, and a set of paintbrushes. Once you’ve helped decide what kind of medium you’re going for, you’re ready to go! You and your loved one are ready to create.

For music therapy, all you need is a set of speakers and some kind of portable music device like your smart phone or iPod to begin listening. If you really want to get into, maybe pick up a record player for your loved one. That way, if they happen to still have their old records, you can play them, too. It’s just one more way to help them walk down memory lane!

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