The Surprising Benefits of Music in Memory Care

If you were to sit down, close your eyes and listen to a favorite song, chances are a memory would come to mind. Maybe it would calm you – or bring a smile to your face.

Music often evokes memories and can bring up senses and emotions from past encounters with a song, artist or instrument. So, it’s no surprise that music can be a helpful tool for residents in memory care.

Director of Life Enrichment Anne Messer has witnessed this firsthand. In the Lumen Lane Memory Care neighborhood, music is incorporated into the weekly recreation schedule. Residents enjoy activities such as:

- Live performers
- Drum circles
- Sing-alongs
- Music trivia
- Music playing during down time or meal times and more

In her experience, Anne said music “encompasses the five domains of recreation, engaging residents’ physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual functions.” For example, it can engage a resident physically while they tap and move with the rhythm or also engage them mentally, reducing anxiety and agitation.

Beyond this, she said it can also trigger memories and help them recall song lyrics. Research suggests that musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.

Music can transport us. Anne shares how it did this for one resident in Lumen Lane. “Through music programs, one of our residents who was normally nonverbal and didn’t engage during activities would participate and join in during certain styles of music and even dance along with a maraca,” she said.

Music has a special impact on people. It can be used for enjoyment and as a form of recreational therapy, a way for people to engage with their minds and bodies.

“Residents enjoy getting together. They hear music, and it engages them. Their mood often changes. You can sometimes see a shift in their whole demeanor,” said Anne.

Are you looking for a place for your loved one to call home? Want to learn more about a community where they can live their lives to the fullest while they receive specialized and innovative care? Visit lightofheartsvilla.org to find out more about Light of Hearts Villa assisted living and memory care unit.


All praise and glory are Yours, Lord our God. For You have called us to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus' sufferings and restore them quickly to health. Bless those who have grown old in Your service and give them courage and strength in their faith. Lead us all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.