Use Music and Rhythm to Create the Ideal Space, Mood, and Flow
by Emilio Solorzano,
Technical Support for PAC
As I sit in my local coffee shop, everything seems to feel just right. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee stirs up every time the door opens and closes. The chatter of people talking mixed in with the sound of an espresso machine venting pressurized steam is just loud enough to hear over my headphones, which is playing my favorite playlist. Why do these seemingly random things help create the perfect working environment and mindset for me?
Drinking coffee usually equates to being productive for me, but not always. Background noises help me to organize my thoughts but can be too distracting at times. The key to setting up my ideal environment, or any environment for that matter, is selecting the right music.
Whether it’s the gentle sounds of soft jazz or the comforting lyrics of a childhood song, music and rhythm can transform any space, place, or activity. We should never underestimate the powerful effect that a familiar tune can have, especially if we’re trying to build a connection with a person living with dementia.
Music can be used to elevate any situation and make it more joyful, more memorable for everyone involved. One example that has stuck with me was when Teepa used the lyrics to a well-known hymn to not only connect with a person living with dementia, but then used that energy to help them initiate a task. Seeing them transition without hesitation, however brief, helped me to see that music can be an excellent tool in dementia care.
Little nuggets of insights like those can make a world of difference for a care partner as well. Some of us would never in a million years even think of singing in public! But when you look at the possible outcome, it can motivate us to get out of our comfort zone and to improve our skill set.
So, let’s make it a goal to use music and rhythm outside of our usual tasks, like working out or when grocery shopping. Let’s also use it to make genuine connections and help brighten someone’s day!