This is an excerpt from a pamphlet written by Jack Geikler titled, “Some Further Thoughts on Dementia Caregiving,” a report about his caregiving education during his wife Pat’s 13-year journey through the surreal world of dementia. He wrote the body of this pamphlet as a memo to his fellow caregivers in the Kendal-supported Dementia Caregivers Group. If you are a caregiver, we encourage you to read the full 28-page pamphlet.
Our use of music as a caregiving (and caregiver) tool was realized in two parts as I grew more knowledgeable. In the early stage I selected the old songs she remembered from childhood for her repertoire (mainly as an entertainment activity). She would sing the lyrics from memory to most of them. As I continued to expand the database of songs – mostly classical – I found that I could also change her behavior depending on the music I selected. It was amazing how often we ended up listening to Mozart when I was trying to calm her down at the end of the day or getting her moving in the morning. I came to the realization that the variables seemed to be frequency, tempo/rhythm, and a steady repetitive pattern.
In the second stage, unfortunately late in Pat’s progression, I was introduced to the concept of a binaural beat frequency added to appropriate music being able to change one’s brain wave frequency to encourage calmness, concentration, or sleep. I obtained several of Monroe Products Hemi-Sync CDs, tried them on myself for several months and found they provided me a way to reduce stress and to allow me to get to sleep without the usual brain clutter. I also used them during my meditation exercises.
I then incorporated them into Pat’s music and used them for a month until she had to move to Borden. My observations during that time is that it had a similar effect on her although there was not enough time to document and confirm that. One certain benefit for both of us is that the Hemi-Sync CD’s technology resulted in a positive effect much more quickly than just music alone.