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Understanding how music can help older adults with dementia

Some small changes to routine can go a long way towards improving the mental health of older people.

Dementia is a condition in which brain function decreases and is directly linked to the loss of the ability to carry out daily activities. An alternative therapeutic strategy is music, with important benefits for people affected by the disease, ranging from reducing stress to improving resistance in physical exercises, to contributing to memory maintenance.

According to Global Burden of Disease research published in Lancet Public Health, by 2050 the number of Brazilians living with dementia is expected to increase by 206%. This means that the number of people affected by the disease in the country is expected to rise from 1.8 million to 5.6 million.

Listening to music can bring back important memories, as well as making it easier to connect with your identity and the emotions that the lyrics can evoke.

“Music has a welcoming power that calms, welcomes, moves and exercises the brain. At this stage of life, in which many elderly people do not have the frequent presence of family members, songs play an even more important role in helping socialization and memory”, says Janaína Rosa, technical coordinator of Domestic angelsnetwork of supervised caregivers.

Changes that make a difference

Some small changes in routine can add a lot to the mental health of older people. Therefore the technical coordinator recommends dedicating a few minutes of the day to this practice.

“It is through music that we can get emotional and look for good memories. Therefore, setting aside a certain time of the day so that the elderly can choose what to listen to and giving them this time to appreciate the lyrics only brings benefits to their mental and even physical health, if that time also includes dancing” , explains Janaína.

The benefits of songs are notable in the behavior of the elderly. This practice gives them the ability to express their emotions more easily and this is important in being able to deal with the feelings that are often contained.

“Elderly people with dementia who come into contact with music reduce their stress level, change their mood and begin to respond to external stimuli with more serenity,” he says.


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Source: Terra

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