Musical Memories

Over the weekend I spent some time with the eldest member of the family- our grandmother. At 87 years, parts of her memory have naturally faded to the point where she is vigilant, but mostly discreet in her actions. On the other side of the couch, was my 8 year old niece: chatty, active and showing us the latest video she liked on YouTube.

This interesting dichotomy reminded me of an article I had come across on the impact of jazz music on people with Alzheimer’s. The article states that:

“Anything you are emotionally attached to can affect the brain,” Tanzi said. “Music memory can activate the brain. In a nursing home, you might see a moderate-to-advanced Alzheimer’s patient suddenly at the piano playing music and singing, even if they haven’t uttered a sentence in weeks….The pathology goes all around the music memories areas, but doesn’t touch them,” he said. “The best way to activate music memory is with the music you love the most.”

Music can indeed be a magical remedy for a tough day, the treatment for a loss, the elixir to a celebration, so it’s no surprise that we can reinvigorate someone’s mind and spirit through the power of music. But the impact that “music memory” practitioner’s provides is nevertheless fascinating.

Do you have any experience utilizing music with Alzheimer’s patients, or as a form of therapy? Please share your experience with us!

By: Shilpa R. Sharma

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