Before Henry Dryer, a 92-year-old who suffers from dementia, started using his iPod, he could only answer yes-or-no questions — and sometimes he sat silently and still for hours at a time. But now that he listens to music regularly, he can sing songs, carry on brief conversations, and even recall things from years ago. Music “gives me the feeling of love, of romance,” he says.
About 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, the disease that most often causes dementia, and recent studies have shown that music can improve memory and even help dementia patients develop new memories.
“Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience,” says renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks. “Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
How music improves the memory of dementia patients