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Using Art and Music When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer's or Dementia

Posted: 6/10/2020 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare
Helping a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia is not easy. The physical and emotional toll endured while watching your loved one progress through the stages is incredibly difficult. And yet, as family caregivers, you persevere -- focusing on love and support. 

There are some powerful ways you can help loved ones throughout their Alzheimer's or dementia journeys. One of the most impactful is through the use of music and art. Participating in these activities together can not only give your loved one a boost, it can help your heart heal by spending time on therapeutic activities with your loved one. 

Let's look closely at how music and art can play an important role in the care of your loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia.


Music

From our days as newborns (and even in the womb!), music has been show to calm us. As we get older, it can spark joy, get us dancing and can help us recall memories. Interestingly, research shows that the ability to recall music and lyrics is not impacted by Alzheimer's

When our loved ones are battling Alzheimer's or dementia, the increasing signs of the disease are frightening and stressful -- for caregivers, but especially for your loved ones. The familiar sounds of favorite songs and artists can help ease troubled minds and provide soothing comfort that is otherwise difficult for Alzheimer's patients to find. 

Perhaps you already know what music your loved one prefers. In that case, creating a playlist or two on your smart phone and putting music on during your next visit can help. If you need some help, you can also go through your loved one's old records and cassettes to find some old favorites. 

Here at Interim HealthCare, music plays an integral role in our approach to dementia care. We call our unique approach HomeLife Enrichment (HLE), and it aims to treat the entire person, not just their afflictions. Uplifting the spirit is one of the four pillars of HLE, and most certainly, music has a profound ability to uplift all of our spirits. 
 

Art

Enjoying the benefits of art doesn't require fancy talent. In fact, everyone can enjoy the benefits of self-expression through art. This is especially true (and powerful) for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. As with the introduction of familiar music, participation in art activities can have a profound impact on your loved one throughout his or her Alzheimer's journey. 

There is no one form of art that is ideal or even preferred; simply choose an art project that your loved one will enjoy. Painting, drawing, making a collage, even simply pottery can all promote a sense of calm, improving anxiety and aggressive tendencies that can be common in Alzheimer's and dementia patients. 

As an added bonus, by partaking in the art project together, you gain some important bonding time with your loved one. The memories made (as well as the art itself!) can provide some important healing of the heart for YOU!

Information is power in a battle with Alzheimer's and dementia.

One of the most important steps you can take to help you care for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia is to arm yourself with as much information as possible. The journey is not an easy one, but with advice, tips and an understanding of how the condition will progress, you'll be armed and ready to take on Alzheimer's or dementia, together. Our Dementia Caregivers Guide aims to serve as the go-to resource for you throughout your loved one's journey. Download this FREE guide today, and be sure to reach out to your local Interim HealthCare location with any questions. We're here to help.