Music Therapy Helps Patients with Dementia

Tunde Krasznai serves as a teaching associate at UCLA, her alma mater. In her teaching position and through her participation in the UCLA Gluck Fellows Music Outreach Program, Tunde Krasznai has had many opportunities to participate in music therapy, a discipline that uses music to accomplish health-related goals in a therapeutic context.

Studies have shown that music can help promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, and improve communication in a variety of populations. Qualified music therapists develop treatment plans with specific goals and objectives. Through composition, improvisation, group music experiences, instruction, and structured listening opportunities, those goals are often met.

Among those suffering from dementia, music therapy has been shown to increase patients' motivation to participate in treatment activities. Music may help patients connect current experiences with memories from the past. 

Research shows that parts of the brain that process music are directly linked to parts of the brain that process long-term memories and emotions. Exposure to and participation in musical activities may help patients with dementia improve their memory and cognitive skills.