Music Helps Treat Dementia Patients

by John Huston

Dementia is a growing problem

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 35.6 million people who are affected by dementia worldwide. This number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. This fact is staggering. Most importantly, if you look at these numbers, you must understand that this will directly affect many of us and our families in our lifetime. This is not just a problem that we can ignore and hope for the best that it resolves itself. We must find effective and cost-friendly treatments to help combat this escalating issue. But what if, right under our noses, there was a treatment that is long-lasting and essentially free?

The curious case of Henry Dryer

Mr. Henry Dryer is 92 years old. He lives in a retirement community and he suffers from dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease. A documentary that came out in 2012 called “Alive Inside”, takes a look into the world of patients with dementia, such as Henry, and finds a surprising secret that only the power of music beholds. Henry’s general demeanor is a lethargic and barely responsive state, he can only respond to yes or no questions, his eyes are barely open, and doesn’t seem to have the capacity to respond to even his closest family members. His general quality of life is very poor. “But when a caregiver places a pair of headphones on him, he undergoes an astonishing transformation. His face, formerly slack and inert, lights up. His eyes beam, and he sways in his chair, keening along to the music of his youth”, Brian Braiker The Guardian. An important thing to note here is that when using this music therapy, the effects last for several hours afterwards and from online thirty minutes to an hour after exposure to music. If we can utilize the power of music, then who knows what other benefits it has in store for us. All we have to do is to keep listening.

Here’s my question for you all:

Does anybody in our class know anyone personally that suffers from dementia? If so, would you consider this music therapy as a possible treatment?


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