Xmas songs could help people with dementia

Classic Christmas songs could cheer up elderly people with dementia.
Classic Christmas songs could cheer up elderly people with dementia.

Television repeats of Christmas classics such as The Snowman and It's A Wonderful Life could help the memories of people with dementia, health experts say.

Familiar TV repeats and old seasonal songs can provide stimulation for people with Alzheimer's and help keep the brain active, according to British dementia specialist Professor Alistair Burns.

Rewatching recognisable films and singing along to old songs can help stimulate emotional memories, he said.

Emotional details and reaction remain lodged in the mind and can be rekindled, promoting a connection with other people, according to Prof Burns, the national clinical director for dementia at Britain's National Health Service.

"People with dementia might find it hard to follow convoluted conversations amid the chaos and noise of Christmas and can end up feeling excluded.

"Gathering the family round to watch a much-loved classic film, thumb through an old photo album, play a family game or even sing along to a favourite carol can bring people together and help everybody feel part of the fun," he said.

Kathryn Smith, CEO at Britain's Alzheimer's Society, agreed that old movie favourites and classic Christmas songs could cheer up people with dementia.

"Reminiscing can be beneficial to someone with dementia - it can help to maintain their self-esteem, confidence and sense of self, as well as improve social interactions with others."

Australian Associated Press