Brain/Body Fitness with Music
by Dawn Wiggins, RPN,
PAC Certified Independent Consultant, Trainer, and Mentor
Article featured on Teepa Snow’s Online Journal- July 2019
“Rhythm and its entertainment of movement, (and often emotion), its power to ‘move’ people, in both senses of the word, may well have had a crucial cultural and economic function in human evolution, bringing people together, producing a sense of collectivity and community.” Oliver Sacks – Musicophilia
Benefits of Music:
It is not a new revelation that there are a multitude of benefits in using music as a modality for working with people living with dementia (PLwD). Music has been proven to reduce stress and improve mood, communication, and physical abilities as well as to engage people. Music has a unique ability to reach people that many have felt are unreachable. Reality is, even people at the later stages of the dementia journey seem to respond positively to music.
Music and Dementia:
When dementia takes away the ability to remember family members or life events, music can reach the soul and connect the emotional memories that are very much still there. Musical memory endures even when the disease has taken so many other facets of our brain.
Through the years, there have been different modalities used to engage PLwD with music. Originally, CD players or radios were set up in resident rooms – usually playing random songs. More recently, the popular iPod or MP3 player with individual song lists became a hit across the nation. Evidence of the transformational power of music can be witnessed in the documentary Alive Inside where Henry appears to become enlivened when headphones were placed over his ears with music that was meaningful to him. There can be no doubt music has almost magical powers! Headphones are also popular; the new silent disco trend for people living with dementia, a very fun and active way to engage people.
How do we use music to engage in a meaningful way and promote purpose for PLwD without using headphones? Research has revealed that creative arts is a dynamic method for promoting purpose, social inclusion, and engagement for people living with dementia.
Add Exercise and Music:
An interesting program I came across and would love to share with others is a program called Ageless Grace.
Click here to watch a video about Ageless Grace and Neuroplasticity. https://youtu.be/I37pW5gSCf8
Click here to watch a video about Ageless Grace and Body Fitness. https://youtu.be/TyDvdOX6mOo