Help for Seniors: Music-Based Self-Diagnostic Tool


NBC recently produced a piece about music therapy for their program, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. In this program on help for seniors, NBC showed seniors responding to old favorite songs. Science has been recognizing the part music plays in people in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, but now scientists are becoming aware of a way to predict its onset.

A Little Background If You Please

Dr. Petr Janata, associate director of psychology at the University of California Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain Research, compared responses of healthy people listening to music with those of patients with Alzheimer’s. His findings showed familiar music helped both groups recall memories. In fact, Dr. Janata learned that the same region of the brain reacts to music and also responds to a melody’s relevance in a person’s life. This is great informational help for all seniors and those of you who want to help them.

These findings can be applied to your loved one by selecting and playing familiar music from favorite childhood activities, weddings, holidays, and also nature–such as sounds from the beach or walks in the park. These musical selections can help seniors re-awaken pleasant moments from his/her lifetime that can be enjoyed once again.

And the Orchestra Joins In

The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s–memory loss, forgetfulness–are so similar to those of natural aging that the disease is often diagnosed too late for effective treatment help for seniors. Music can help temporarily reverse the process. What if music could be used to help seniors and others diagnosed the disease much sooner?

An MIT team has created music software that can provide help for seniors that way. Users compose songs and then play a Concentration-like game the involves recalling excerpts of melody pairs and other memory tasks.

A person can track his or her own results and watch for signs of a more serious cognitive decline.

If Alzheimer’s can be detected early, medication and mental exercises have a better chance of stabilizing memory loss or lat least slowing down the progression,” says one of the software’s creators, Adam Boulanger, Ph.D.

“Having made progress in music-based diagnostic tools for Alzheimer’s disease, I’m now testing the reliability of the measure by embedding it in a highly social, open-ended, music workshop environment,” Boulanger added.

The software is still in these clinical trials, but researchers hope to release a commercial version to be on the market to help provide help for seniors within the year.

For more information:

Help for Seniors:10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (Sequoia Senior Solutions Blog)
Revived by Music (Sequoia Senior Solutions Blog)


help for seniorsStanton Lawson is the Co-Owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions. Sequoia’s mission is to ensure a better quality of life for their elderly clients and their families, by providing dependable and affordable in-home care. Sequoia’s focus is to keep you or your loved ones at home and avoid:

Loss of friends and possessions
Loss of independence and freedom
Loss of spirit which is drained by the battles of daily living

Sequoia Senior Solutions, Inc. serves Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Solano, Mendocino, Lake Counties. The main office is located at191 Lynch Creek Way, Suite 102, Petaluma, CA 94954. Email Tel: (707) 763-6600 Fax: (707) 763-6607,