Non-drug options for older adults living with dementia

Non-drug options for older adults living with dementia

Originally published Jan 11, 2021 – McMaster University –

Aspects of dementia including aggression, agitations, anxiety, and psychosis can have a significant impact on the lives of dementia patients and their caregivers. Agitation, for example, affects 90% of dementia patients and can obstruct their ability to engage in essential or desired activities, affect their relationships, and decrease quality of life. It can also negatively impact caregivers, leading to feelings of helplessness and affecting their personal health. When it comes to treatment options, there are several non-drug related options that may be effective.

Music therapy can have positive effects for older adults and caregivers

Music creates emotions and causes physical effects in people: happy or quiet music lowers the heart rate and reduces stress, for example. Studies have shown that listening to music allows older adults with dementia to be calmer, which indirectly helps to reduce caregivers’ levels of stress. Also, group music therapy sessions led by a trained music therapist helped reduce caregivers’ anxiety by allowing them to express and share their feelings.

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