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Music Can Be a Great Caregiver Tool

By , 4:22 pm on

The great philosopher, Plato, said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

I think he was right. Especially about the mind and the imagination.  Dr. Connie Tomaino of New York’s Institute of Music and Neurologic Function and Dr. Daniel Levitin of McGill University would probably agree. They were quoted in a March 2012 article from Weight Watcher’s Magazine.  Here’s a brief summary of the article.

Our brains actually react to music on a chemical level. Probably as dramatically as vinegar and baking soda, although we just can’t see it happen.  Music’s tempo makes a difference in how it affects us, too. If you work out with music, you already know it can motivate and make you move faster, or slow you down so much you want to quit exercising, all depending on the tempo.

Ever notice how music can be noise?  If we like a type of music, hearing it can make our brains come alive. If we don’t, it can be extremely irritating. That affect is probably something all teenagers know instinctively, because they seem to blast dramatically different music from their parents’.

Our brains react to music so strongly that we can help ourselves out of a depressive mood or calm ourselves down, depending on the type of music we’re listening to.

The brain’s circuits which react to rhythm and beats are formed when we’re babies.  Babies standing in their cribs dance around because they are responding to and are able to move in time to music.

If you’re a family caregiver, especially of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, music can be a wonderful tool in your kit.  Since we know it can alleviate depression and anxiety, it is a great activity.  Use it to lift the mood, your mood and your loved one’s.  If able, your loved one can dance around the house and get a little exercise.  Or let the soft, soothing sounds of music send “calm” through the house.  At Home Care Assistance in Omaha, we encourage both exercise and mental stimulation as part of our Balanced Care Method™.  Music supports our goal of whole person care.

Plato, back in 400 B.C., knew what he was talking about!