The Norman Transcript

Features

August 27, 2013

Music therapy works for Alzheimer’s patients

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients? I’m helping my dad take care of my 80-year-old mother who has mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and thought it might be something worth trying. How do we proceed?

— Unmusical Mary

Dear Mary,

Music has amazing power, especially for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that listening to familiar music can significantly improve mood and alertness, reduce agitation and can help with a number of behavioral issues that are common in the middle stages of the disease.

Even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may be able to tap a beat or sing lyrics to a song from childhood.

Sitting and listening to music together also can provide a way for you and your dad to connect and bond with your mom, even after she stops recognizing your names and faces.

Here are a few tips to help you create a music therapy program for your mom:

· Create a playlist: Your first step is to identify the music that’s familiar and enjoyable to your mom. Does she like jazz, classical or Frank Sinatra? What songs make her want to get up and dance? Then go back to the era when she was a teenager through their early 20s. Research shows that music during this time period seems to get the best response and triggers the most memories.

If you need some help creating a playlist, the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function provides a suggested list of top songs by era and genre on its website at musictherapy.imnf.org — click on “Outpatient Services,” then on “Top 10’s For Memory.”

The website pandora.com also will tailor a radio station to match your mom’s musical taste when you select an artist, song or genre. And musicandmemory.org offers a free guide to creating a personalized playlist.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014