Music and the Arts – A Powerful Medium Among People With Alzheimer’s

What if you do not recognize even the simplest things you did in your life? What if the memories you’ve accumulated over the years slowly started away and you are unable to create new memories? Sadly, this is the case for millions of people around the world. People say, you do not know what you have until it is gone. This is the same with memories. Memories make up who we are. Our experiences make as a better person. Good memories help us stand up when we are struggling. Memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease is real. It can happen to any of us in old age.

Within the brain there are many different cells called neurons which serve the purpose of creating thoughts. It makes you function as a human being in general. Sometimes when one grows old, there are certain proteins that interact abnormally with these neurons. This buildup of proteins can cause plaque or tangles within the structures of the brain that slowly causes the brain cells to physically decay. This is the case of Alzheimer’s. Having this disease can be a disabling condition, it can cause changes to one’s personality and well-being. Reading about Alzheimer’s is very different from experiencing it.

Music and Art is proven to alter this disease. Music and the arts is very successful in improving the cognitive loss in patients with Alzheimer’s. Engaging in these activities promoted a higher quality of life and both the patient and the caretaker had higher self-assessment of happiness. What is surprising here is that Art and Music is a remarkable tool. We are very familiar how art can transport people. It can take us to a new place, it can make us empathetic for another people and can remind us of our own loved one’s favorite experiences. Researchers have found that Art allows people with Alzheimer’s be present at the moment. When they look at art pieces they become focused with the colors, shapes and the subject matter. When they are exposed to the arts patients with this disease become very communicative. They engage themselves in conversations unlike when they are not exposed to these mediums. Somehow when exposed to the arts, they develop a short term experience where they can understand this special experience they have with the arts and music. They are eagerly expecting to have this experience again. The arts in many people with Alzheimer’s allows them to reconnect with their old selves. They begin to have flashbacks with the art pieces they see. Art also allows the patients the opportunity to create. They visually express themselves.

Music and the arts are indeed a very powerful medium. This gives our older adults the much happiness they deserve. Through these mediums they have the chance to express themselves and refresh their memories. They will always remember the positive experience and positive emotions they gain from the arts and music. Seeing them smile and happy is what matters.

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