May 19, 2017 |

Music and mental health – Alzheimer’s

Music and mental health – Alzheimer’s

May 19, 2017 |

ADVERTISMENT

ADVERTISMENT

People using music as a form of therapy isn’t unheard of. It has bought plenty of people back from their darkest times with illnesses such as depression and dementia. Although it technically isn’t a medication, there is not a doubt that it is powerful enough to positively change someone’s life.

“I have seen deeply demented patients weep or shiver as they listen to music they have never heard before, and I think that they can experience the entire range of feelings the rest of us can… Once one has seen such responses, one knows that there is still a self to be called upon, even if music, and only music, can do the calling.” – Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia.

When Emma* was around 6 years old, her Nan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Despite not understanding the condition, she could tell her Nan was different.

“I saw my Nan go from this loveable, outgoing and happy woman to a frail, angry shell of what she used to be. We had to put her in a home as it became too much for my granddad to cope with as she deteriorated throughout the years. I started to visit less frequently, especially when she completely forgot who I was.” It soon got to the point where most communication with her Nan was shouting, crying, and her Nan telling people to go away.

“However, on one visit, I recall walking into the living room area where my Nan and a few others with dementia and Alzheimer’s were sitting and the radio was on. As the song (sadly I can’t remember what it was) came on, her face lit up in recognition of it, and it was the first time in a long time that I’d seen some form of recognition in her eyes. For those few minutes, she wasn’t the woman I’d come to know, but the one that I had memories of during my early childhood as she remembered the song.”