Everyone has turned on the radio to hear their favorite song and immediately started singing along. Catchy tunes help us get up, get going, and stay motivated. Music has the power to invoke emotion, instantly impacting the way we feel. In fact, trained professionals use music therapy to promote emotional, physical, cognitive, and social healing in patients. At Life Enrichment Center, music therapy is used to manage pain, promote heart health, and treat depression and anxiety.
Meet Hannah-Full Time Music Therapist of Life Enrichment
Opioid pain relievers get the brain to release oxytocin to lower the sensation of pain. However, due to the opioid epidemic, more physicians and patients are opting for alternative pain management options, and studies have shown that the brain responds to music in a similar way as it does to opioids. Swedish researchers found that the brain naturally increased oxytocin levels while music played during open heart surgery. Music also activates the brain’s reward center, triggering the release of dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical. Another study by Drexel University found that music therapy reduces pain in cancer patients while improving their mood and reducing their anxiety.
Good tunes also promote heart health: music has been found to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A study by Japanese researchers of elderly dementia patients confirmed this by finding that music helped decrease sympathetic activity, promoting a slowed heart rate and relaxation. This means music therapy is a helpful tool in dementia care, as well. Another study, this one by Massachusetts General Hospital, found that music reduced stress and anxiety among bedridden patients—beneficial for not only their heart health but also their mental and emotional health.
Depression and Mental Health
Music can move people, so it’s no surprise that music therapy can be used to address the mental and emotional needs of patients. Finnish researchers studied patients with depression who received either standard care or standard care plus music therapy. They measured patients’ levels of depression, anxiety, general functioning, and quality of life. They concluded that standard care plus music therapy was more effective at treating depression than standard care alone.
Learn More About Music Therapy
Life Enrichment Center uses music therapy and other specialty therapies to promote healing and enhance the quality of life for our clients. Many clients benefit from listening to and creating music, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and memory loss, as well as those with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. Contact a Life Enrichment Center location near you or call us at 704-484-0405 to learn more about specialty therapy programs for the adults we serve.
According to 2018 data from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 16 million Americans care for a family member who has Alzheimer’s. This disease is now the sixth-leading cause of death in the US, with a 123 percent increase from 2000 to 2015. Since early detection can dramatically impact the disease’s prognosis, caregivers who are concerned about their loved ones’ risk of developing dementia should be aware of these five early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
In the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease, affected individuals may experience issues with short-term memory that are severe enough to impact daily life. This can include difficulty keeping track of names and phone numbers, as well as forgetting that major or minor events occurred. The person may rely extensively on written or digital notes to support this new memory deficit.
Apathy and Withdrawal
Those who are struggling to function may begin to avoid events and activities they previously enjoyed, or they may avoid friends and family. In many cases, this is born from a desire to stick to a familiar routine, but it can also stem from indifference to one’s surroundings, social withdrawal, and loss of interest. According to research published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, study participants aged 54 to 85 who exhibited a combination of mild cognitive impairment and apathy had a greater chance of developing of Alzheimer’s disease later.
Difficulty With Tasks
Activities of daily living can become quite challenging, even in the earliest stages of dementia. This is particularly true of projects that require planning and problem solving, even for tasks that are very familiar. This may include meal planning and cooking or balancing a checkbook. Caregivers who notice a family member struggling in these areas may want to seek medical advice.
Changes in Appearance and Hygiene
For many seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, their social apathy also extends to their personal appearance. This can manifest as wearing the same clothes every day, showering less often, and/or discontinuing routines like going to regular hair appointments. These changes can also indicate depression, which is more common among adults with dementia.
The development of anxiety could indicate the concurrent manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, older adults who are feeling anxious tend to ask the same questions and confirm plans multiple times. This anxiety often occurs when a person becomes aware of his or her memory loss and forgetfulness.
At the Life Enrichment Center, we have the resources to serve aging adults who may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. We provide adult day care services, which includes support groups , specialty therapy, and other stimulating and fulfilling activities. Families who are concerned about whether their loved one can continue to live independently can contact us online or give us a call at 704-484-0405 to schedule a free trial visit to our beautiful facility.