Abby Johnson
Director of Admissions
Arlington Court Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Music Therapy and Alzheimer’s

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Music Therapy - Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care“Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior” (Alzheimer’s Association, 2021). This type of memory loss becomes serious enough to interfere with a person’s daily life and tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive over time, and symptoms gradually increase over the time of being diagnosed. There is a worldwide effort to find better ways to treat the disease and research continues to be conducted. “In the United States, an estimated 5.5 million people of all ages have Alzheimer’s, and it is estimated that there are 500 thousand cases diagnosed this year” (Alzheimer’s News Today, 2021). There is no cure to Alzheimer’s, therefore most families tend to seek therapy and other living arrangements for their loved ones after the disease has developed over time.

What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

“Researchers believe that there is no single cause of the disease, the disease likely develops from multiple factors such as genetics, lifestyle and environment.” (Texas Health and Human Services, 2021). While someone can get Alzheimer’s in their thirties or forties, another common cause of Alzheimer’s is aging. According to Texas Health and Human Services, most cases of Alzheimer’s are diagnosed at age 65 or older and occurring in 1 in 9 people. “Memory care is specialized care for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, or significant cognitive decline” (A Place for Mom, 2021). Families tend to seek placement for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s in a memory care unit in a nursing home facility where residents can get the all-day, specialized care and therapy they may need.

What is Music Therapy?”

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals providing therapy.” (American Music Therapy Association, 2021). Music therapy can help alleviate pain and stress. For example, it can help set the mood for a resident by calming the resident during a mealtime or hygiene routine. Music therapy can be individualized or in group settings, movement is also very encouraged for someone with Alzheimer’s disease (American Music Therapy Association, 2021). Clapping along to a song or dancing can help positively boost a person’s attitude and also helps with some exercise.

How does Music Therapy help?

According to Mayo Clinic, research suggests that listening to music or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often untouched by this disease, therefore, creating a positive response to residents in a nursing home setting when involved in this sort of activity. Music therapy benefits for residents with this disease include, stress relief, reduces anxiety and depression, and reduces agitation. Even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia a person may be able to remember a songs beat or lyrics to a song from their childhood. Music therapy in a way provides a resident a way to connect to their memories when it may be difficult to in other ways.

Here at Arlington Court, we offer our Memory Care unit with a 24 hour a day specialized care plan with experienced nursing staff. We also have Central Ohio Music Therapy stop by and visit our memory care unit providing therapy services. Weekly we have a pianist come play for our residents where residents gather around the Grand Piano located in our entry area while dancing and clapping to the notes of the instrument. The resident at Arlington Court really enjoys and anticipate these events throughout the week. Our unit offers short-term and long-term stays, including skilled and respite visits. Our memory care unit is a nurturing, therapeutic and secure atmosphere. I hope you consider Arlington Court when pursuing a place for your loved one!

For more information or to schedule a tour of the Arlington Court Memory Care Unit, please call 614-451-5677 today.