Music Therapy

Both my grandmother and my mother have coped with Alzheimer as they age. My mother is 85 and I live with her and help her to get along with her daily activities. I have noticed that an attitude of loving kindness and truthful acceptance of the situation is a wonderful way to cope with the shocking losses in memory. Moods will change and a little depression can set in when a patient realizes they aren't quite capable of managing something they imagine they ought to be doing. Nothing changes this little set back as much as music. Music reaches into the brain and pulls out a younger eager person who remembers every word to every song and whose mood joyously sours as they hear familiar pieces. Suddenly as they are moving through their daily routines listening to this uplifting music a sense of well being settles a reassuring mantle upon their troubled shoulders. We noticed this just this week when a visitor came with a similar problem. My father was able to go into his archives of music and pull out songs from the era of this persons young life. Suddenly the quiet shy gentleman who is troubled by his forgetfulness is suddenly singing, "Don't sit under the apple Tree with anyone else but me!" and he has joined the group and feels at ease. Wouldn't it be interesting to develop a device that can find music from the patients teens and twenties and play a version. Then the care giver can mark and categorize the music according to what it does for the person and build a play list accordingly (this music makes her feel good and remember things and be active, this music makes her sleepy and relaxed, this music make her feel like it's ok to go take a walk, this music takes away the building anger and frustration, etc.). Then, given a certain mood, the caregiver could play the playlist to help create the desired atmosphere. Music even helps with building new habits and procedure and if one plays the same piece during a new process it seems to help create the process and when the music come on again for the patient it sets the mood and expectation for a successful event.