Music, the mind and dementia. An unlikely trio you may think. On the contrary. Going to the other end of the spectrum, in a baby's sixteenth week of development eyebrows, eyelashes and, oh yes, hearing are all in place. In fact, research has shown that songs sung during gestation are more readily recognized by the newborn after he or she makes his or her official debut.
First to come, last to go. The very ability to hear and react to music, that was first heard in the womb, stays for quite a long time. This is particularly true for the person with dementia. I have seen this phenomenon up close. Some of my clients who have been silenced by the disease, start to sing when they hear familiar songs. I encourage you to try it. You won't be disappointed and you will find a wonderfully meaningful experience. Perhaps the only challenge is finding the right song for the right age.
For my clients in their 80's I have found that songs from the 1930's are sweet center. "Pennies From Heaven," "Happy Days are Here Again" and of course "God Bless America." Can't you hear Kate Smith belting that one out? George Cohan, while from an earlier era, is another great source. "Give my Regards to Broadway," is one of my favorites.
Between songs, I invite you to read the article in which I am quoted. I explain how I use music: http://www.caring.com/articles/senior-care-art-therapy
Here's to happy and meaningful singing.