Did you know that there are close to 10 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide? That means there is one new case of dementia every three seconds. That’s scary if not worrying. It is not a country-specific but a worldwide challenge. There are a few compassionate people around the world who play an important role to find a solution, that includes offering care to the dementia sufferers.
We are All Things Senior, had a privilege to connect with Mary Sue, who is an educator and a professional musician. She has been doing this for many years now and she is also an author. Teepa Snow, who is an internationally renowned dementia care educator, contributed to her book as well and continues to endorse her work. The book is called “You Know by Heart”, a simple guide for using music in dementia care. As a writer, speaker and trainer, she leads hundreds of music sessions each year for seniors and has recorded dual-sing-along CDs as well.
Mary Sue gave five remarkable reasons on why she thought music could help in dementia care. Music is about improving the quality of life.
1. Building connection
Music allows you to sustain or establish a relationship with someone. Many family members get together during birthdays, anniversaries or festivals and have musical night. Music brings joy to anyone who hears it and improves their emotional health. So, it builds a connection with the patient when you use music. As you sing together, it brings you closer.
2. Remembering happier times
Music like an emotional pathway that can take them to their past. Now the person may not be able to talk to you about the past, but the song can reach their heart and their emotions and it will bring back the feelings, if not the memory. One of her clients with memory loss one day just stood up and said that he loved music and started dancing to the song Mary Sue was playing. His wife told later told Mary Sue that they used to dance all the time. Music is a language itself and it can reach people just like that.
3. Sense of belonging
Music helps people create a community and have a sense of belonging. It can provide comfort and levels up the playing field. Everyone uses music like that all the time. There are a few patriotic songs that bring culture together and unite people. People also sing in church together, there are even work songs in workspaces that help everyone get things done quickly, so it creates a community and a reassurance that they are not alone.
4. Lift up your spirits
Music and lyrics can easily relate to a person, memory, situation or even a celebration. It can lift you up. Everyone must have had an experience where you hear a song and it can take you either way. You hear a melancholy song and suddenly start feeling sad or hear a lively song and can immediately feel energized. Music can easily impact your mood. For this, we should always play positive and happy songs to keep the melancholy feelings away.
5. Relieve boredom
Music can relieve boredom. For people suffering from dementia, it can be really boring as they can’t do activities in the same way as their earlier times. Here, music can be engaging and quite meaningful. As they can also dance on it. You can keep providing activities for people, but they still continue seeking meaningful activities. And along those lines for family members, it’s really a great way for them to be involved, connecting happy times.