Programming for the residents of a memory care facility can be challenging. Everyone is at a different place health-wise. Many activities are not appropriate for everyone. Even one-on-one activities can be challenging with this population.

I have found great success using programs that involve music. Activities including sing-alongs, musical performances, drum circles, playing instruments and listening to music have provided many positives for residents — and not just because these activities are fun and bring people together. Many studies point to the benefits music offers, including a reduction in agitated behaviors, a decrease in anxiety and depression, an improvement in language skills, and opportunities to trigger positive memories and the emotions tied to them.

Singing also provides aerobic exercise for residents who can no longer exercise traditionally. Singing releases endorphins (a feel-good hormone) and oxytocin (a stress-relieving hormone). Many benefits continue weeks after the session, demonstrating the possibility of long-term effects.

You don’t need to be a therapist to use music therapeutically with your loved ones. Sing a song together. Listen to a favorite tune. Play relaxing background music during times of rest. Use music every day and enjoy its results!


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