Sunday, June 28, 2009

Caregiving with Music Enhances Communication

Are you a caregiver? Do you sing? Do you enjoy playing music? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you have the ability to add vitality and meaning to patients’ lives, especially those who have dementia. Music and singing can uplift their spirits.

A study was done to enhance vocally expressed emotions and moods in the communication between caregivers and persons with severe dementia. Participants included nine nursing home residents with dementia and five professional caregivers. The presence of background music and caregiver singing enhanced the communication between caregivers and residents. Background music promoted playfulness. Caregiver singing improved sincerity and intimacy in their interactions.

How do these results influence you as a caregiver who sings or plays music? They support your efforts to provide quality of life for patients with dementia. Take the time to find kinds of music you think patients will enjoy. Let the magic play.

You can read the research that was reported in the “International Journal of Nursing Studies.”

In this video, Mary Peakes, a hospice nurse, sings "I Wanna Go" to patient Pamela Rucker, who died a few days later. Pamela’s daughter stated, “I want to thank all the hospice nurses. I am so grateful for these angels who helped my mother and her family through this difficult time.”

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. I've heard that about singing before - it helps stimulate the brain, and for the same reasons it can help babies develop their brains, it can help those with dementia 'revive' their brains.

  2. Music has been know to work wonders in the area of curing people.