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The Power of Music and The Role It Plays in Alzheimer's

A message from Joy's House

If you are anything like me, you have a favorite song.  When you hear this song, you are most likely able to close your eyes and picture where you were and what you were doing when you first heard it or at least name a memory that circles around it.  This could be the song that you first danced to at your wedding or the song that you listened to before every big game in high school.

Music plays such a large role in our progression through life. 

As children, we learned the alphabet and that Jesus loves us through song.  Today there are songs to help us learn the multiplication table and to even help us remember human anatomy.   Music is so engrained in who we are as humans, that it’s not surprising that it’s one of the last senses, if you will, to leave us. 

There have been a growing number of studies, done across the globe and even right here in Indiana, that shows the power of music and the role that it plays, particularly in those individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease. 

If you are caring for a loved one that is living with this debilitating disease, you at some point may find that you are no longer able to communicate with them.  As you look at them, you may wonder if this shell of a person has any life inside of them.  At that moment I challenge you to gently place head phones on their ears or simply turn on one of their favorite songs and watch their eyes light up. 

Time and time again we at Joy’s House have seen the power of music.  We have watched with tears in our eyes as a Guest (client) who doesn’t speak a word, belts out all of the words to "Jesus Loves Me," or wiggly in their chair to Jail House Rock. 

I’m going to give you a task.  While it may seem like a daunting one, I suspect that you may find that you really enjoy it.  I’d like for you to begin making a playlist, for your loved one. 

You can write it on paper and recruit a teenager to find the songs and download them for you, or you can download them yourself, which ever you are most comfortable with.  If possible, invite your loved one to join you.  Enjoy the conversation that comes with reminiscing over the music and even the memories that you have. 


For more tips, tune into Caregiver Crossing every Saturday morning, 7-8 am, on 93.1 FM WIBC. 

Caregiver Crossing is a service of Joy’s House and was created as a weekly on-air support group for family caregivers and those of us who one day will be.  We would love to have you join us.

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