Practical resources to help family caregivers in the midst of caring for someone

Caring and sharing with music

Have you met anyone who doesn’t like music?

I think it is just a matter of degree. I am at the far end of the continuum. I love music. The intense sadness I felt when my dad died was interrupted by equally intense feelings of joy when I selected and played the music my dad loved.

This past Christmas, I rented a karaoke machine and now have a video of my (then) 87 year old mom swaying and passionately singing an off key rendition of Elvis’ I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’.

Benefits of music

From children to seniors, music benefits people of all walks of life and medical conditions. Music is often present for births in delivery rooms and for end of life in a hospice.

Music has been shown to:

  • Reduce our anxiety
  • Lower our stress
  • Relax us
  • Help us sleep better
  • Act as a distraction (especially during a medical procedure or test)
  • Reduce feelings of pain
  • Boost our immune system
  • Increase our cognitive function
  • Elevate our mood

Music and Alzheimer’s

You may have already heard about the powerful benefits of music for people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. A familiar tune has the ability to help the person relax, access emotions and memories, facilitate cognitive functioning, foster positive interactions with others and boost their mood.

I think it is really interesting that musical aptitude and appreciation are the two last remaining abilities of someone with dementia.

Music has also been effectively incorporated into some Long-Term Care Homes in Canada and other countries such as England. The Alzheimer’s Society has a video that demonstrates the profound effect music can have on the quality of life.

I can’t think of anything easier than bringing (more) music into your life and into the life of your parents. Imagine playing some music before visiting with your parents. It will help put you in a good mental space before your visit.

Most people enjoy listening to some form of music. You probably already know what your parent’s like and dislikes are. You don’t have to do what I did and rent a karaoke machine for your next family gathering. But then again, maybe you want to consider it. Even my cynical ‘too cool’ brother got up to sing some Bob Dylan.

What type of music do you enjoy listening to and is it the same as your parents?  Would you agree that music has a positive impact on your mood? Let us know.

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