Music and dementia

I have loved music from an early age, and still love it today, although my abilities to sing and tastes of music have changed considerably.

I also spent around 10 years in a our Parish church choir as a boy along with my Brother John, and went with them to sing in Durham Cathedral with the Cathedral choir, something that was a thrill at the time. It was hard work but I look back with pride, as I had learnt so much.

In my younger days I loved some popular music and some classical music, something that was classed as odd for my age.

My father thought, I was odd listening to classical music at first and then he got used to it and loved it.

This was the era of the Beetles and many large groups, some of which are still going today.

I never got into things like Frank Sinatra and rock music, as I could never stand it, but now my tastes have changed

I still like classical music, and pop music, but now for some reason I now like listening to Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton along with Freddie mercury and queen, something as I said I would never have listened to in the past.

Is my brain telling me something, I simply don't know, but I have been told by other people with this illness that they have experienced the same problems.

However today there are many places running events called, Singing for the Brain, but I could never go to these because my singing days are over, or as my dear wife has told me in the past, they are well over.

I struggle to get my voice going, and sing so low it sounds like its coming from my feet, totally flat.

I do however listen to music on my music player, during the bad nights when I have the nightmares and graphic dreams.

I have used this music player when I cannot sleep some nights, only to be woken up by my dear wife, telling me to shut up ,because I have been singing as I was drifting off.

The usual culprit with this is Glen Cambell and Rhinestone Cowboy, why I simply don't know.

I did have a good laugh at this, and now I don't play either Glen Campbell or Jim Reeves when I cannot sleep.

The Grandchildren thought it was hilarious, hearing about me singing in my sleep, but to me it could have been a lot worse.

This music player is a good thing, but that had back fired on a few occasions, when I learnt that some music I love listening to during the day, has the wrong effects during the night, and can actually trigger bad dreams.

This I think is caused by the rhythm and some instruments like String and Violin's. Gast violin's trigger very active and sometimes violent dreams some of which can be very graphic and violent, or at least the are to me.

Only once has my wife come to get hit during the night, and that was when she tried to wake me up,  she actually became part of the bad dream and woke the next morning with a lovely black eye.

I was very upset and did not understand what had happened, until I sat down and thought about the dream, which was violent.

After this I warned carers etc, when I was doing talks about dementia, never to touch someone having on of these horrors of the night as we call them.

Keep well back and speak to us. If you get too close you will become part of the event.

I do think there is a lot to be said where dementia and singing events are said, because music seems to unlock or memories, and in many cases has actually got people moving singing and taking part, even though they may have been silent for a very long time.

Music is generally very calming and relaxing, and to me its a wonderful tool to use, in all illnesses, so we must encourage more events around the country, in the hope that more people get involved.

The only time I can go to religious services these days, is when we are away and attend a Cathedral service where people are restrained, simply because I struggle when people start swaying to the music and singing with their arms in the air, because it makes me feel unstable.



  1. Found ur comments interesting. My Mom has been having violent dreams/nightmares for a few years now, but she hasn't had a diagnosis of dementia. She has always attributed the nightmares to meds she is on for Type 2 Diabetes. Just curious - are u on anything for diabetes?

    Have been reading a book called "Grain Brain" by David Perlmutter. He calls Alzheimers the Type 3 diabetes of the century. He advocates eliminating grains from our diets. I've started a ketogenic diet a month ago and am seeing some positive results with my memory already, just by eliminating grain products and eating whole foods. I am determined to fight dementia in anyway I can.

    The diet I eat is high in fats (alot of them are satuated) and the way I rationalize the threat to my heart, is that I'd rather die quickly with a heart attack than to wither away without a thought in my head for 10 years in a nursing home. Been there, done that with my father in law. My husband is not real supportive of what I am doing on the one hand, but also wants to see a different outcome than Alzheimers, so he's tolerating the diet. Would be interested in knowing whether or not u've tried anything to reverse the memory loss?

  2. That sounds very interesting I will will look it up when I get time. Thank you so much


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I always say that we may have this illness, but we are all so different.

This is my own daily problems, but I would gladly share anyone elses, if they send them in,

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