Interactive Activities for Cognitive Health: Music and Dementia

Music has a profound benefit for people with dementia. Not only does it stimulate the senses, music activates many parts of the brain that affect language, mood, memory, and movement. Long after the names and places are forgotten, musical memories are preserved.

Wake Up and Go to Bed with Music

Playing or singing animated, happy songs when helping a dementia patient start the day can ease dressing and morning hygiene activities. At the end of the day playing soft, calming music can create a calm environment, ease behaviors (like anxiety or anger), and create a serene atmosphere for bedtime routines.

Host a Zoom Concert

Engage a grandparent with memory loss via a musical zoom concert! Grandkids can play an instrument while grandparents clap, tap or dance along. Give loved ones the ability to express themselves and benefit from joining in a social activity by adding a song and creating a sing-along.

It‘s Never Too Late to Pick Up an Instrument

For those with mild cognitive impairment, picking up an instrument is a good way to prevent further decline and build new brain connections. YouTube features dozens of free lesson tutorials.

Virtual Concert-Going

From opera to the Philharmonic, free links to recorded performances let socially distanced individuals see and hear their favorite musicians. Streaming it to a large screen smart TV can make them feel as if they are seeing it live.

Create a Personalized Playlist

With options like Pandora and Spotify, it’s easy to make a personalized music list for those living with dementia. Usually, the best songs are those that people with dementiaare most familiar with. Focus on music that was popular when they were in their teens and twenties, as well as the type of music they enjoy today. From classical to country, and everything in between, these customized playlists will bring back pleasant memories and perhaps encourage opportunities to tell their stories of a particular era.


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