Music is great for seniors with dementia
Music benefits seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia in many ways. Multiple research studies confirm this and documentaries like Alive Inside allow us to witness music’s amazing effect on older adults.
Music has even been shown to be more effective than medication in boosting mood, reducing anxiety and agitation, and increasing happiness and engagement – even in people with very advanced dementia.
Music helps seniors with dementia because it activates different parts of the brain and also helps with reminiscing and relating to emotions and experiences. On top of that, research by Harvard Medical School and other leading institutions show that singing has even more health and healing advantages than just listening to music.
What is SingFit?
SingFit is a program that elevates mood and improve speech through singing. There’s a mobile app that’s meant for caregivers to use one-on-one and a program called SingFit Prime that’s used for group activities in senior living communities. We’re going to focus on the mobile app that’s for home use.
The idea behind SingFit is to use music as “medicine” to improve brain health in older adults who have dementia. One of the company’s founders, Andy Tubman, is a music therapist and expert on music and the brain.
How does SingFit benefit seniors with dementia?
Even when dementia patients can’t speak, they can often still sing. SingFit says that singing and remembering lyrics are often the last things to be forgotten. Speaking uses the left side of the brain, but singing uses the entire brain. Because both sides of the brain are engaged, the parts that control speech are getting extra “help” from the other parts.
The difference this karaoke-style app has on seniors is clear. As they sing and experience the music, their faces light up, they smile, they sway to the beat, and they sing in increasingly loud and confident voices – even if they had been withdrawn before.
How does SingFit work and how much does it cost?
One of the best things about SingFit is that no reading is needed, everything is completely auditory. Even if your older adult has a cognitive or vision impairment, they’ll still be able to enjoy singing any song they want.
You can also adjust the volume of spoken lyric reminders and accompanying vocals to suit your older adult’s preferences. If they know the song well, they can belt out the tune unassisted. If they don’t quite remember it, the lyric reminders and backing vocals are there to keep the experience fun.
The SingFit mobile app is free to download and comes with 12 free songs. The app is only available for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. There’s a $4.99/month subscription fee for unlimited access to the SingFit song library.
DailyCaring tip: If you use the SingFit app on an iPhone, you’ll need to use an external speaker to play the music. The iPhone speakers can only play the app at a very low volume. If you use an iPad, external speakers are optional.
SingFit app home screen
Partial list of free songs
The singing screen; press play or record at bottom to start
To record: from the home screen, open the menu (in upper right corner) to get to this screen. Set “Enable Record Button” to ON
Singing and listening to music are wonderful activities for older adults at any ability level, but is especially helpful for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s a quick, simple, and inexpensive way to create engagement, boost mood, and improve health.
The SingFit app is a fun way for seniors to sing a variety of songs and even gives you a chance to record and share their singing! But you can just as easily use any music player to play your senior’s favorite tunes and have a great time singing along.
Recommended for you:
- 12 Engaging Activities for Seniors with Dementia: Reduce Agitation and Boost Mood
- 10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia
- Music Seniors Love: Top Songs from Every Generation
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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