If you are looking for a text that explains this question in a scientific way, you are not in the right place. But if you are interested in my personal insight into the topic and my experience, you are in the right place.
A day or two ago, I accidentally had an insight into a comment, where one Hive user mentioned his strong connection to a person suffering from that disease, Alzheimer's. It completely overwhelmed my thoughts for the whole day. Yesterday I didn't even post on Hive because I was still impressed. How that type of dementia can affect the life of a patient and family members, or people caring for them. One of my grandmothers was in the first stage of Alzheimer's. It wasn’t easy for her either, because she lived alone, even though we visited her every day and spent hours together, she forgot that we were there.
But I didn’t know about the impact that music can have on relieving symptoms until I started playing at an elderly assistance centre. It is an institution here in Spain, which is partly funded by the Norwegian government. Elderly patients from Norway with dementia or other forms of need, such as physical recovery, were sent here for a couple of weeks of recovery. To always sunny Spain... I get why they funded their centre exactly here. Patients had all-day care, healthy diet, physical exercise and swimming, organized excursions, strolling on the beach. Some evenings they only had activities like playing dominoes, or reading, knitting, theatre, and twice a week they had music therapy.
Here comes my part. Twice a week, playing for one hour the piano was leaving a great positive impact on my listeners. My repertoire there were well-known compositions from the genre of classical music. Gentle melodies, I would say, because I was choosing smooth compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Chopin... They enjoyed a lot. Gratefully applauded between each piece and interacted with me. Sometimes, I asked what would they want to hear. There was a lady in a wheelchair there, who always asked me to play Strangers In The Night, My Way and She.
They told me that those songs evoked beautiful memories and emotions in them. They could remember their younger years, relive moments in love again or emotional instants from their lives. So I learned a bunch of that kind of songs for playing there. Sometimes I saw tears in their eyes, sometimes mild smiles on their faces. That was an amazing feeling for me as well.
When I finished playing and said goodbye to them, they would take my hand and ask when I would come again. Some braver ones would hug me and thank me. It has always been a pleasure for me to come back and play. It was not a cure, of course, but that moments count.
But why I write all this in the past tense? Because the centre closed in March, the patients returned to Norway and it is still not open ... And it is not known when it will be again. Hopefully, one day will open again.
I wrote a bit longer than I wanted to. But I will leave here one of the songs that I used to play there. The song is called She, by Charles Aznavour.
The lyrics of this song
She may be the face I can't forget
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or
The price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
She may be the mirror of my dream
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell
She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one's allowed to see them
When they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I'll remember till the day I die
She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I'll care for through the
Rough and rainy years
Me, I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is she, she, she