Using SPARK Memories Radio to Trigger Brain Activity

By Steve Hanson, 9:00 am on

There is a new mobile app that is sparking the interest of dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Rockwall. Designed for both iOS and Android devices, SPARK Memories Radio enables dementia caregivers to customize the perfect playlist for their senior loved ones. Studies show that beloved songs from a person’s past reduce depression and agitation in people with dementia while stimulating brain function and cognitive ability.

Backed by Science

According to the Alzheimer’s Association of America, responding to rhythm doesn’t require mental processing. It occurs automatically when the brain’s motor center is nudged by musical cues. Despite mental decline, a person with dementia can retain the ability to sing, enjoy music, and play an instrument.

Created by Alzheimer’s expert, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, SPARK stimulates brain activity and recall. Studies show that music recollection is preserved during the late stages of dementia. Activation of memories linked to music prompts other brain regions to respond. By listening to tunes from their youth, people with Alzheimer’s and dementia experience an increase in cognitive function, emotional health, and social interaction.

Restorative Therapy

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks advised that music can be just as important as medication for a dementia patient because it has the potential to restore lost faculties. Researchers at George Mason University found that dementia patients who regularly sang songs such as “Isn’t it Romantic?” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” showed improvement during recall and cognitive tests over a four-month period. Studies show that pairing music with daily activities helps dementia patients remember how to do them.

How SPARK Works

  • Dementia caregivers in Rockwall can download the app to their loved one’s mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android smartphone. SPARK is available in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.
  • Open the app and register for SPARK by inputting your email address and a password.
  • Enter your loved one’s name and birth date. The program will choose songs that were popular in the U.S. when your loved one was between the ages of 13 to 25. Selections are made from songs that were commonly featured in the movies, TV, and radio from the 1930s through the 1970s.
  • Press “Play”. Upon hearing familiar songs, seniors will recall associated events, people, and places their subconscious assigns to each song.

Genre Options

You can also add music of a certain type, such as classical, jazz, and Christian hymns. Although you can’t play only one genre, you can incorporate music of a specific style into the playlist. The available songs may not represent those of your loved one’s past. SPARK’S genre music is a collection of the most popular tunes of all time. You can also create a “Favorites” playlist.

Life-Changing Results

SPARK is designed to promote calm behavior, communication skills, and lucidity in the context of dementia. While it isn’t a cure, it can help reduce the occurrence of negative emotions and behaviors. Stimulating brain activity also strengthens memory and delays the progress of dementia. Since SPARK’s impact cannot be predicted, the app is offered on a seven-day, free-trial basis.

Help your loved one delay dementia symptoms by calling Home Care Assistance in Rockwall at (972) 722-7833. We provide comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia senior home care in Rockwall to help stimulate cognitive function, sharpen mental acuity, and delay the onset of dementia in the comfort of your loved one’s home. Don’t hesitate to talk to a trusted Care Manager to schedule a free in-home consultation today.

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