The way we listen to music has changed. Big time.

It seems like just a few years ago we were buying expensive stereo systems and speakers. Listening to new music required a drive to Tower Records. And no one dared leave the house without a few extra Walkman batteries in tow.

Today, we can access millions of songs and albums with just a few clicks and swipes on our smartphone. No stereo, car or Walkman required.

For those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, this makes it easier than ever to tap the healing power of music to help your loved one enjoy a higher quality of life.

The Powerful Connection Between Music and Alzheimer’s

Again and again, research has shown the power music has to help people with Alzheimer’s. The right song played at the right time can help reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function.

Music can also be used to make activities like eating and bathing less stressful for all involved.

That’s why many forward-thinking Florida memory care and Alzheimer’s care communities integrate music into their daily programming.  Music integration therapies are proven to alleviate many negative symptoms and behaviors of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Three Steps to Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Enjoy Music at Home

If you want to help your loved one enjoy some of the same benefits at home, consider giving them the gift of music this holiday season. You don’t have to buy an expensive stereo system or a boatload of CDs. All you have to do is follow the three simple steps below.

  • Step 1. Pick a Device
    In the past, we had a dedicated console where we inserted our CD, tape or record. This console is also where we adjusted the volume. If we wanted to change the radio station or switch albums, we had to walk over to our stereo and do it manually.Nowadays, everything can be done from a device like a smartphone or tablet. You can also access and control music from a computer or video game console.Which device is right for your loved one? It depends on their needs and mobility. Smartphones are the most portable — many are small enough to fit in your pocket. But they’re also expensive (a new iPhone will set you back at least $699).Tablets are a little bigger, which might be an asset for those with limited vision. They’re also cheaper, with most coming in between $100 and $200. Computers and laptops vary in price, size and portability. Video game consoles are the least portable, but they also offer some of the best screen resolution.
  • Step 2. Pick a Music Streaming Service
    There are a wealth of online music streaming services available. Many offer a trial that allows you to listen to a few songs or albums for free for a limited time. But for the best listening experience, it may be worth setting your loved one up with a premium or paid subscription. Most cost about $10 per month.With a paid subscription, your loved one can listen to any song, album or artist in the service’s extensive library. Spotify, a popular music streaming service, offers more than 30 million songs. Google Play Music features more than 40 million.To access the music, you or your loved one can download an app on the smartphone, tablet or whatever device you picked in Step 1. The music can also be reached by logging into the streaming service’s website. From here, you and your loved one can make custom playlists and stations or access podcasts and live programming, depending on the provider.
  • Step 3. Pick a Speaker
    Most of the devices listed in Step 1 come with a built-in speaker or headphone jack. But to get the best sound quality, and to set up a more immersive home listening experience, consider purchasing a smart speaker. These vary in price from $49 for a single portable Google Nest Mini to several thousand dollars for a fixed multi-room system complete with amps and soundbars. In addition to streaming music, smart speakers offer a wealth of benefits for caregivers who want to bring music to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Many are voice-controlled, allowing you to change songs and lower the volume from the other side of the room. Others can be integrated with a smart home system. In addition to switching albums, they can also be programmed to turn on lights or lock the back door.

Did you know the process the brain uses to encode songs is independent from other part of the memory? The neuroscience behind music and memory loss is fascinating.

If you want to learn more about the connection between music and Alzheimer’s and how it powers Sonata Senior Living’s innovative Duets musical memory care program, call a community near you today to schedule a visit →

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