Nonmedical Interventions to Comfort Alzheimer’s Patients

As an informal caregiver, you can perform a few tried-and-tested nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients and make life easy for them.

By getting them to live the life that they wished they would be living if they were healthful like everyone else, you make them feel one of your own and make your intent clear that you will be there for them no matter what.

Understanding what they are going through, stepping in their shoes by seeing the world as they see it, and having tons and tons of compassion for a loved one are some of the nature-given strengths you have at your disposal.  

The environment you maintain at home will directly influence their mood and behavior—a friendly, happy, and carefree atmosphere will create a feeling of well-being in them. A person feels loved when they are being unconditionally accepted for who they are. Their strengths, shortcomings, and fate are something they carry with them all the time.

Please note that the presence of unsupportive family members can make them feel like an outsider and break their will to live. Hence, it’s important to accept them fully.

Nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients

Play their favorite songs once a day

listen to music

Several studies have shown that listening to music can lower stress and increase cognitive ability in AD patients.

Several studies have shown that listening to music can lower stress and increase cognitive ability in AD patients. Music surely can be one of the most effective nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients.

Simulations of a structural model of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by Mr. Shaw from the University of California predicted that music might enhance spatial-temporal reasoning(ability to visualize dynamically changing objects. Eg: form a blueprint of an architectural structure).[1]

Another study by Eva M. Arroyo-Anlló, University of Salamanca, Spain tells us that listening to familiar music can enhance self-consciousness in AD patients.

Forty native Spanish AD patients were chosen for this study,  they were divided into two matched groups, according to age, gender, and educational level. One random group was made to listen to familiar Spanish songs and another one to new unheard songs. The group listening to familiar songs had a slightly higher self-consciousness score in the test taken after they listened to those songs for several days. [2]

Training them to be able to sing

Singing training improves the neural efficacy of cognitive processing in AD patients.

In a study done by Mie University, Tsu, Japan, 10 AD patients took part in music therapy using singing training once a week for six months. Each individual participating in this singing training was assessed by neuropsychological batteries, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they sang the song.

After six months of training, the time taken by each individual to finish Japanese Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices(a multiple choice question test to measure a test taker’s reasoning ability ) was reduced considerably.[3]

Playing background music at home

We tend to remember the music playing in the background during all important life events that happened in the past— high school graduation ceremony, first time at the water park, the day you got really sick, etc— background music can recall all sorts of past experiences—good and bad.

Will it really comfort an Alzheimer’s patient?

A study was done by Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing, Dublin, Ireland to understand the effect of music on autobiographical memory (a collection of episodes from a person’s past experiences) of Alzheimer’s disease patients.   

Each AD patient participating in this study was interviewed to test his autobiographical memory two times— once when he listened to music (‘The four seasons’ by Vivaldi) and another time with no music.

Results of the interviews suggested a significant reduction in the state of anxiety of the AD patient when interviewing during the music playing in the background. Because of this reduction in anxiety, they were able to perform well in the interview and could recall past life events with greater accuracy than when interviewing without background music.  [4]

What does the research say?

In this study, scientists were looking into how to help people with Alzheimer’s disease feel better. Alzheimer’s is a tough illness that makes people forget things and get worse over time. The medicines we have right now can’t cure it, they only help a little bit and can cause some problems.

So, the researchers wanted to find new ways to help. They thought that not everyone with Alzheimer’s is the same, so they needed different treatments for each person. Imagine if you had a favorite type of food, but I tried to give you the same food every day, even if you didn’t like it. That wouldn’t make you happy, right? It’s the same with Alzheimer’s patients – what works for one person might not work for another.

To figure out the best way to help each person, the researchers looked at a few things. They checked how bad the Alzheimer’s was, if the person had other health problems, what kind of symptoms they had, and what the person wanted. Think of it like going to a doctor who knows you really well and can give you the right medicine for your exact problem.

The researchers found that it’s best to have a team of different experts who can help. Like in a sports team, everyone has their own job to do. So, for Alzheimer’s, doctors, nurses, and other experts should all work together to make the person feel better.

They also said that it’s important to keep trying different things and see what works best for each person. Just like how you might change your hairstyle or clothes until you find the one you like the most.

In the end, the researchers want to make sure that people with Alzheimer’s get the best care possible. They want to understand each person’s unique needs and give them the right help at the right time. That way, they can feel better and live a happier life, even with Alzheimer’s.


I know some of the nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer’s patients mentioned above are not full proof and won’t cure the disease completely, but it’s imperative to try everything that is proven by research.

Medical professionals take great pains to conduct such studies and millions of dollars are spent every year for research on Alzheimer’s disease.

In the year 2018, the United States spent an estimated $277 billion on Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.

It seems like a lot of work at first, but you will feel encouraged with every improvement your loved one shows by implementing the above-mentioned methods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *