Many studies have been done on how different types of art can help seniors with dementia. From poetry to drawing and sculpting, seniors who have dementia seem to find comfort in several different forms of art. One group out of Brown University evaluated a music program for seniors with dementia called Music & Memory and found that personalizing a music playlist can benefit seniors with dementia even more than simply having them listen to any type of music.
During their evaluation, researchers found that assisted living communities and nursing homes that had adopted the Music & Memory program or similar programs were able to help seniors cope better with the anxieties and the disorienting symptoms that come with dementia. They found that the seniors who participated in the personalized music program were more likely to stop needed antipsychotic and antianxiety medications. Those seniors were also less likely to engage in disruptive or violent behaviors when compared with others who were living in the same communities but not participating in the music program.
This evaluation was important, because researchers were able to show that personalized music can benefit seniors whose dementia is very advanced. Many of the seniors with advanced dementia appeared to be more at ease after listening to their favorite playlists. While researchers cannot be sure that the music program is the reason so many of these seniors are showing improvement in demeanor and behavior, it is a step in the right direction for those who wish to make daily life easier and calmer for seniors with dementia.