Singing is a favorite hobby for many. Music can alleviate stress and also calm the mind. Singing and listening to music can also improve memory functioning in individuals with dementia, revealed a new study.
The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease
was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland. They recruited 89 dementia patients along with their caregivers and offered them 10 weeks of music intervention coaching.
‘Music intervention program for a period of 10 weeks improved cognitive, emotional and social functioning of individuals with mild dementia.
Participants were made to listen to music and sing and the researchers analyzed their dementia severity, age and musical background. In addition, they received extensive neuropsychological testing; mood and quality of life measures were performed both during and after the musical intervention.
The team found that music intervention improved cognitive, emotional and social functioning of the dementia patients. It also alleviated depressive symptoms and improved their orientation skills. These effects were prominent in individuals with mild dementia and those who were younger than 80 years.
Särkämö said, "Our findings suggest that musical leisure activities could be easily applied and widely used in dementia care and rehabilitation. Especially stimulating and engaging activities, such as singing, seem to be very promising for maintaining memory functioning in the early stages of dementia."
Reference: Särkämö T1, Laitinen S et al. "Clinical and Demographic Factors Associated with the Cognitive and Emotional Efficacy of Regular Musical Activities in Dementia,"J Alzheimers Dis. 2015 Oct 19.