While it’s not clearly understood, music is one of the last remaining connections many elderly patients with Alzheimer’s Disease retain in late stages of the disease. Those living with AD may not be able to place names, faces or even the date, but somehow they can often recall all the words to Christmas carols from decades ago. This may in turn trigger happy childhood memories and create a pathway for meaningful conversation and mutual enjoyment between generations.
Caring for a spouse, parent or other loved-one with dementia can be exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. If only for a brief moment, familiar music, engrained since early childhood can offer a moment of relief from the worries and demands of caregiving.
Caregivers, friends and family can look for CDs or download a digital playlist of traditional holiday music for the next family gathering or holiday visit. All the commotion and stimulation of the holidays can be overwhelming for those with dementia but music can be a great way to calm things down and reduce stress for everyone.
Holiday Compilations to Consider:
- Canadian singer, Anne Murray has a two-disc set What A Wonderful Christmas
- Sarah Mclachlan’s Classic Christmas Album features traditional selections such as Silent Night, The First Noel, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
- Michael Buble’s 2011 Christmas covers most of the classics including White Christmas, Ava Maria and Jingle Bells.
- Jan Arden’s new Christmas recording released October 2015.
More suggestions about creating a successfully holiday season for caregivers and those with dementia can be found by visiting the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada website at http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/Living-with-dementia/Staying-connected/Holidays-and-special-occasions .