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As Part of the Dementia Friendly Community initiative Prestatyn Town Council facilitate mind music events each Wednesday morning from 10:30 at Kings Hall.
Run by Sue Edwards of Prestatyn Town Council, with a number of other local community group members getting involved such as Prestatyn Men’s Shed, and Artisans Collective CIC alongside other local artists and musicians, George, Paul and Cynthia.
Whether it’s 60s soul, operatic arias or songs from the shows, music can soothe, stimulate and bring to mind long-forgotten memories.
The power of music, especially singing, to unlock memories and kickstart the grey matter is an increasingly key feature of dementia care. It seems to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot.
Here are five reasons why researchers believe that music boosts brain activity:
1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories.
Music can evoke emotion in even the most advanced of Alzheimer’s patients. Neurologist Oliver Sacks says that, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” By pairing music with every day activities, patients can develop a rhythm that helps them to the recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time.
2. Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients.
Linda Maguire, lead author on the study wrote, “Musical aptitude and music appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s.” Because these two abilities remain long after other abilities have passed, music is an excellent way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.
3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness.
In the later stages of dementia, patients often lose the ability to share emotions with caregivers. Through music, as long as they are ambulatory, they can often dance. Dancing can lead to hugs, kisses and touching which brings security and memories.
4. Singing is engaging.
The singing sessions in the study engaged more than just the brain and the area related to singing. As singing activated the left side of the brain, listening to music sparked activity in the right and watching the class activated visual areas of the brain. With so much of the brain being stimulated, the patients were exercising more mind power than usual.
5. Music can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has an entire web page dedicated to music therapy in Alzheimer’s patients. They say that, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.” This is because music requires little to no mental processing, so singing music does not require the cognitive function that is not present in most dementia patients.