Senior Living Insurance: Stalling Dementia with Music

Senior Living Insurance:Stalling Dementia With MusicSenior Living Insurance: Stalling Dementia with Music 

In recent years there have been numerous studies done to demonstrate the power that both playing and listening to music has on the human brain, whether it be for an autistic child, a brain-damaged adult, or an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. These studies have raised questions about how music can actually prevent mental decline in seniors.

Can simply playing a musical instrument or listening along to the radio stall the onset of dementia? How many years would one need to engage in music before it has a benefit on the brain? These are examples of questions that researchers are exploring.

Researchers have already suggested that keeping the brain active may hold back dementia symptoms by up to five years. Examples of mentally stimulating activities include puzzles, word games, and memory training games.

Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, who is an assistant professor of neurology at Emory University, studies cognitive functioning among musicians. She states, “If you can delay the presentation of dementia by five years, then you add an extra five years of functioning to an individual at the end of the life span. In terms of fiscal cost and everything, that’s actually quite a lot.”

Hanna-Pladdy and her colleagues found in one study that aging individuals who had extensive musical instrumental training were able to perform better at tasks of object-naming, visuospatial memory and rapid mental processing, as long as they had played an instrument for at least 10 years.

The question this brings up for medical care providers is if it is worth it then, to teach an older person who has no musical experience, how to play an instrument. Recent research suggests that it is harder, however it’s still possible, to modify the brain in an older person.

Regardless of whether or not music playing or listening can actually stall dementia, it has been proven that music can be used to help the minds of elderly individuals who have already declined mentally. Simply being exposed to music, whether through casual listening or formal music therapy, can help reduce the incidences of behavioral issues and generally calm dementia patients.

Contact DigniCARE today for more information about our senior living insurance programs for nursing homes, assisted living, and independent living facilities. (855) 883-6306.

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