Music Therapy as a Memory Care Tool

From the Washington Post, a story about the power of music in relation to memory, and how some forward-thinking professionals are using that link to help patients with memory issues.

The upbeat song “Sweet Caroline” often prompts listeners to sing and dance. But when music therapist Alaine Reschke-Hernández played the song for an older person, the song evoked a sad memory and tears. That patient’s surprising reaction highlights how music, and the memories that come with it, can influence emotions, even years later.

Strategically using music can improve well-being, particularly for older people, says Reschke-Hernández of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “Music is so connected and integrated with so many different elements of our life,” she says. From joyful celebrations to solemn ceremonies, music is part of meaningful events throughout life and becomes strongly associated with memory.”

Reschke-Hernández teamed with neurologists to really measure the effect of music on memory. The results were clear: music has such a deep association with memory that it can even transcend profound memory loss to make a connection.

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