There are many documented cases where music impacts people with dementia, somehow re-awakening long lost memories. It appears speech and music are handled by different areas of the brain, and songs learned early in life will be retained when other faculties have gone. Here are just a few quotes from articles around this subject – and there’s much more to discover!
“I’ve seen many music therapy sessions where people who can’t speak still sing, or respond to a musical cue. The research we carried out in our homes along with Anglia Ruskin University showed music therapy bringing demonstrable wellbeing benefits for people with dementia. There’s even some suggestion that music therapy could reduce the need for medication.” – Ming Hung Hsu, MHA – Stimulating minds with music and memory
“It made me realise that people with dementia had a special ability to remember songs. Even if people with dementia can’t talk, they may be able to sing, whistle, clap or tap their feet. It helps them, and their carers, to feel life is worthwhile.” Quote on Age UK: Dementia and music
“The aim is to use interactive music and music therapy on dementia sufferers in order to help them maintain function, access memory and connect with those around them.” – article on New Zealand Herald
“My Mum’s communication improved around the time music therapy started. When she had had music therapy, she was different. She was lighter, she was engaged, she was doing something in life that she really enjoyed. She was just a different person, because she had had the therapy. She’s not agitated when she’s in therapy.” – Kathryne Cowhig, quoted on MHA Stimulating Minds campaign