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New research has found it’s the favourite tunes from your youth that can be of most benefit in dementia care.

There’s nothing better than hearing a song from your youth and it triggering a range of fun and enjoyable memories. This is certainly the case for people with dementia, after a study from the University of Helsinki found it could boost mood and cognitive abilities.

Researchers looked at 89 people with mild to moderate dementia and studied them for 10 weeks while they participated in music sessions of singing or listening to records from their youth.

Through the regular listening or singing, study participants had decreased levels of depression and those with more advanced levels of dementia also benefited cognitively.

The music from their childhood was found to be emotionally comforting and reignited past memories.

‘We found that familiar music, listened to by patients in their adolescence and early twenties was more effective,’ explains Dr Teppo, who worked on the study. ‘In fact, we found that music [which] patients weren’t familiar with achieved very little response.

‘We also found it was a good activity to do with families – especially relatives who share a musical culture with the patient and therefore memories.’

For more tips on using music in dementia care, click here.