A group of seniors singing together.

10 Heartwarming Sing Along Songs for Seniors with Dementia

Have you ever heard someone say that “music is medicine”? They were more right than you may think. Music can unlock memories, lift moods, and increase connection.

The symptoms under the dementia umbrella, including behavioral disturbances, wandering, aggression, psychosis, and apathy, don’t often respond well to medication. Alternative therapies are a wonderful way to relieve these symptoms without causing additional stress. Listening to music, especially music preferred by the patient, is an excellent option.

A Northwestern Medicine study shows that music can spark connection and reduce agitation. These benefits are elevated from beloved songs, such as classics from one’s youth. This is true for both dementia patients and their caregivers as they interact with the music together. Music can speak when words cannot, and this study found that especially true with seniors.

As Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour said, “Music memories often remain in the brain even as language and other memories disappear in dementia.” This highlights the importance of listening to songs from your loved one’s youth with them. The songs you choose may even help them recall fond memories from another time.

Why and How We Sing Songs With Our Dementia Patients

Everyone who has ever attended a party knows that the soundtrack determines the mood. We are conscious of the role that music plays in all of our attitudes and behaviors, not just our residents’. Music plays a large part in day-to-day life at The Moments and it shows up in many ways.

We always have soft music playing in common areas, but we also provide many opportunities for our residents to play with music themselves. These include:

  • Singing opportunities
  • Instrument classes
  • Live musical performances
  • Listening to the player piano
  • Playing Casio keyboards, hand drums, and other small instruments
  • Visits from trained music therapists

Part of creating a positive and heartwarming musical experience for our residents is minimizing distractions. We went the extra mile by installing sound-dampening panels in our common spaces. Lastly, we ensure that our seniors won’t be interrupted by advertisements or tech issues while we’re enjoying music time.

Our events calendar includes a truly diverse array of musical options for our residents. From karaoke to Old Time Tunes to Piano Tunes with Robert, there is always some way to enjoy music at The Moments.

10 Sing Along Songs for Seniors With Dementia

A senior woman in headphones singing with her daughter.

As we mentioned earlier, the best songs for dementia patients are whatever songs they prefer. Singing together should be an experience of connection and comfort, not agitation and disagreement.

The songs we’ve listed below are a few of our favorites here at The Moments. Feel free to substitute for whatever your loved one prefers.

Golden Oldies

This category consists of songs from the 1950s-1980s. We suggest starting with the most popular songs from the decades of your loved one’s youth. We like the following:

  1. “Hound Dog” by Elvis (1956)
  2. “The Twist” by Chubby Checker (1960)
  3. “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes (1966)
  4. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles (1968)
  5. “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Imagination (1973)
  6. “Stayin’ Alive” by Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  7. “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (1977)
  8. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson (1982)
  9. “Take On Me” by A-ha (1985)
  10. “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac (1987)

You can incorporate questions or even photos from the past to enhance the experience of listening together. You can even sing with them if that feels right to you. Music is a great way to open a door of connection.

It is important to remember that seniors with dementia may struggle with feeling and expressing their emotions. Keep an eye on how your loved one is doing as you listen to music together. If the songs unlock memories, it could be an emotional experience.

With Dementia, Songs Bring Comfort

At The Moments, our resident experience is designed with the senses in mind. We focus on taste, touch, sight, sound, smell, and human connection to enhance the everyday life of our residents.

Music invites us into a sensory experience together. Apart from the melodic sounds we hear, songs give us a chance to move, touch, sing, and connect with others. We do believe that music can be medicine for the soul.

Our sensory design is so important to us that we’ve installed sound-dampening panels in common areas and utilized extensive thermal insulation to minimize outside noises. We’re committed to providing unparalleled memory care.

Published On: March 29, 2024