Music Moves by Hon. Ruth Dyson

The emotional connection that most people have with music is very strong.  Often you hear music and recall an event that is linked to that sound.  It can make you happy or sad.  And it can often make you remember things when you can’t remember much else.  It is very powerful.

That’s one of the reasons that music therapy is so successful.  And it’s one of the reasons that people in resthomes and dementia units should have music that they enjoy as part of their life.  I feel sad when I visit resthomes – which I do frequently – and the lounge is silent.  Of course you don’t want loud music blaring and people also need some quiet places.  But you can strike a healthy balance between these two extremes.  I know that some dementia units have gone an extra mile and have headsets for people so that they can hear music that they like without disturbing other people.

Often, family members will tell me that their father or mother actually sang along to a favourite song when they are unable to speak in normal conversation.  There is something that is triggered by music that can overcome other barriers that people face.  And to hear your father sing when he is unable to talk is pretty magical for him and for you!

In the same way as music can overcome some physical barriers caused by a stroke for example, it can also trigger memory recall in people with dementia.  People will be able to sing along to a song and really enjoy it, when their memory is completely failing.  So it gives them connection – and happiness.

The final “power” of music is that it makes you move.  No, it won’t magically transform you into Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but lots of music just makes you want to get up and dance.  And again, that’s not just good for you physically, but emotionally as well.

So think about making a musical connection possible for yourself or your family member who might benefit from such a connection.  A CD player – even better if it has headphones – is quite inexpensive to buy, is easy to move from a bedroom to a lounge, and can provide a lot of happiness.  And you can choose CDs that are appropriate of course!  Or if you have much more spare cash, you can get a more modern version like a MP3 player and download music onto it.

So sing and dance!  Enjoy the music that lights up your eyes.  And have fun.

About Hon.Ruth Dyson

Hon.Ruth Dyson
Hon Ruth Dyson MP for Port Hills Spokesperson for Senior Citizens Ruth Dyson is the Labour Member of Parliament for the Port Hills Electorate.

One comment

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    We should never underestimate the power of music.