Using music to help a loved one with dementia

Using music can be a great way to help a loved one with dementia…

Derek has written an article about his experience of using music in care homes – so it might be something you’d like to consider using to help your loved one at home.

It’s a well known fact that music lightens the souls and is very uplifting for everyone in one form or another. You may like rock music, whilst I like easy listening music. You may like the Rolling Stones whereas I like the Carpenters.

Either way you look at it, it’s still music.

I have seen lounges in care homes come to life when music is played. I have seen people who were just sitting there doing absolutely nothing suddenly spring to life.

Feet start tapping, then fingers and then hands start tapping and clapping. Within no time at all, people are up and dancing. Music is better to have playing than have people sitting watching TV all day….


Play musical instruments

Playing musical instruments is another good idea to use. It doesn’t matter if someone can’t play an instrument at all, but it is a form of expression and everyone will always want to express themselves in some shape or form.


Play musical bingo

Musical bingo is also very good as it stirs up old memories and good times at dance halls and clubs. This is an inexpensive activity that always reaps rewards.

Music quizzes are a great activity and you can obtain these on the internet for hardly any cost at all. Very good for user participation and interaction.

I am also a big fan of piped music in any setting, as its music can be very calming.


Why not start a choir in the home?

I did this as an activity at a day centre some years ago and I got a third year music student in to form and lead the choir.

Very successful and very enjoyable all round. Again, it does not matter if you can’t sing but being part of it makes one feel good and valued and it’s very expressive.

Also, music students don’t cost and they are very grateful for the experience opportunity.


Whatever route you decide to take with music, you should definitely consider its potential…

“If music be the food of love, play on”

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Keep an eye out for our next article on music and dementia – especially if you are an amateur musician with a passion to help those with dementia…

If you are looking after a loved one with dementia, you may need a little extra help…

Have a look at the range of technology available to do just that. Simply click on the banner below.

Help a loved one with dementia

About the Author

Derek Fisher

House Manager at Jewish Blind and Disabled

Derek has worked in care in many roles over the last 16 years - in care homes and day centres .

He is currently a house manager for a charity who have sheltered accommodation for disabled people enabling them to live independently.

Derek has a passion for dementia care and is currently campaigning for a 24/7 dementia help line - often also on different chats on Twitter.

He also loves football and is an avid Arsenal fan, cricket fan, reader and gardener.