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Effects of music on residents with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

The power of a good song

When you call Lisa Myers, our Executive Director at Insignia of Savannah, you will hear Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. Lisa has had this song as her playback tone for years. Why? Because as someone who spends every day with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, she knows how powerful a good song can be.

Music has an emotional response in most of us that is often hard to explain. We associate songs with feelings, moments and memories and sometimes, though those memories can fade, the feelings remain. This article explains some of the reasons why music can awaken dementia patients.

Music sets the mood for Aizheimer’s patients

For Lisa, integrating music to her care routines with her residents is extremely important. She shares: “In any community that I have ever been in, music has to be a top priority. Music sets the mood for the residents, whether its singing old hymns, music from their generation or even making up silly songs to make the residents feel special and laugh”.

The effects of music in patients with memory loss haven’t been studied much, but are very apparent, and we see it every day in our residents. During the holidays, Home Depot in Bluffton, South Carolina donated a singing and dancing Santa Clause to the residents of Insignia of Savannah. The residents enjoyed this tremendously, as shown in the video below:

This is just one example of the impact that music can have on those who might not be entirely mentally present. “Sometimes, residents can’t form a sentence or put two words in front of each other but you can sit down at a piano and play a song and its like a piece of their mind has opened up and they remember those words”, Lisa says. She hopes that younger generations will come play Journey for her when she’s older.

Don’t Stop Believing” in the power of music!


Songs from the 20s through the 70s

We’ve curated a playlist with songs from the 20s through the 70s. We hope these songs spark something in your loved ones with memory loss!


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