Reading the remarkable accounts of how the late Rhinestone Cowboy singer Glen Campbell continued delivering his famous music, even when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, has reminded us how important music can be to those suffering from dementia. With the help of his family and friends, Glen continued performing after he had been diagnosed – his last concert was in 2012 – the words and music were always there.

From before we are born our sense of hearing is active. At the age of 16 weeks gestation a baby can hear and distinguish its parent’s voices. We use music to soothe our babies when they are distressed and as our children begin to grow and learn, we sing them the same songs and nursery rhymes that we had sung to us. Medics say that hearing is the last sense we lose before we die and often encourage music to be played to patients in comas.

A quick search online for music therapy delivers a number of stories illustrating how effective music can be when caring for the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia. There are many examples where dementia sufferers have found comfort and become happily animated when they listen to tunes or watch films from their past.

Support and advice can be sought from the British Association of Music Therapy which holds a register of practitioners who are qualified to provide music therapy. However, by using an iPod or MP3 device loaded with music enjoyed by someone in their younger days, a live-in carer can easily help deliver the benefits of music to clients. With input from loved ones and friends, a play list of music and songs liked by someone in their past can be created. Out of the home, a live-in carer can also help a client visit clubs or groups where they can join with others to sing or just listen to music, as well as going along to church, another place where music can be enjoyed.

Otus Live-in Care is a privately owned company. Based in West Sussex, we deliver a bespoke service, introducing personal live-in carers to clients in their own homes across the UK. Our registered carers have extensive experience of caring for people suffering from dementia and recognise the benefits of using music to help their clients. To find out more about our services call us on 01403 710119 or email [email protected], without obligation.

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