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"I Will Remember for You℠" Alzheimer's Music Video

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Download the song, “I Will Remember for You” by David Michael Mainelli.

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Oh the places you used to go,
All the people you used to know,
The stories that you loved to tell
About a life that you lived so well.

It’s fine, you can rest if you want to.
I will remember for you,
I will remember too.

Music is just a story with a melody. The song “I Will Remember for You” played in the video to the right tells the story of a couple touched by Alzheimer’s disease. It was written and performed by Home Instead Senior Care staff member Dave Mainelli, and is inspired by all the families they have met who are keeping the memories alive for loved ones experiencing memory loss. Music powerfully communicates emotion and narrative, making it an excellent tool to evoke memories for those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

The Power of Music

A drum beat, a guitar strum, a melody, a song. A toe tap, a finger snap, and soon you’re humming along. Music can move us emotionally and physically without us having to even think about it. Its power to reach past the mind and touch the soul has a soothing therapeutic effect particularly beneficial to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy1 demonstrated that playing familiar background music helped to increase positive social behaviors in people with Alzheimer’s and decrease negative behaviors related to agitation.

Music has also been proven to drastically decrease anxiety and depression in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders 2. One caregiver summed up her experience with music saying that she would wake her husband up every morning to the Louis Armstrong song, “Wonderful World,” and “He always started the day in a great mood.”

Even when the usual means of communication become inhibited by the effects of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, those experiencing memory loss still remember and respond to music.

You can leverage the power of music in a number of different ways to lift the spirits of a family member with dementia and unlock memories from long ago.

One way is to create a “life soundtrack” that includes memorable songs from your loved one’s childhood, teenage, young adult and older years. Research the top hits from each decade of your loved one’s life, find out what songs were played at his or her wedding, and pick out some well-loved hymns or carols. If your family member with dementia used to play a musical instrument, include music featuring that instrument as well.

You can also encourage your family member with dementia to not just listen but take part in the music making. According to Preserve Your Memory magazine3, singing daily has a positive effect on one’s mental state. Many senior centers and other community organizations provide opportunities to sing with a group, play an instrument (even if just a woodblock or tambourine), or simply clap along. And when you play the soundtrack you created for you loved one, sing along together. You may be surprised how many lyrics your loved one still remembers by heart.

Sources:

1. Journal of Music Therapy, Winter 2007: “The Effect of Background Stimulative Music on Behavior in Alzheimer’s Patients”

2. Journal of Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, July 2009: “Effect of Music Therapy on Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Alzheimer’s Type Dementia”

3. Preserve Your Memory, Winter 2011: “Celebrating Senior Sounds.”

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. January 11, 2016 at 06:08 am
    Posted by Sophie

    A documentary that shows the effect of music in people with dementia very clearly is 'Alive inside - a story of music and memory'. I thought it was an amazing documentary and it was a true eye-opener for me. I really recommend it to anyone who is interested!
  2. December 16, 2015 at 09:53 pm
    Posted by Elizabeth Summers

    My Mother has alzheimer's/dementia. She actually has had symptoms for the last 5 or 6 years. We have been trying to stay with her in her home for the last two years. I have only one brother and we alternate staying with her. She mostly is sweet but can't function alone. She won't bathe or let us cut her finger or toe nails with out a battle. She still thinks she is running the house and wants control over everything from the temp. on the furnace to when we can use the washing machine. She will not go home with me. When I've tried to take her home she paces the floor.

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