Music provides healing for Alzheimer's and Dementia patients

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Francisco Martinez or Junior has played music since he was a child living in Hawai’i. A few years ago he was diagnosed with dementia. To help combat the disease, his doctor prescribed something familiar.

"His doctor at the VA told him to pick up his ukulele every day and to play every day," Junior’s wife Sherry Martinez said.

Music therapy has become something that some memory doctors have suggested for Alzheimer and Dementia patients.

"If they are musically inclined music is a good cognitive activity, it keeps their brains activated," Aspirus Memory Clinic Specialist Dr. Rick Reding added.

Just a few weeks ago, Sherry built her husband a music room in her backyard so that he could play his music throughout the year. Since the family’s addition, it has made a world of difference.

"His ability to talk and communicate with the kids are much better, it’s more of a positive note,” Sherry explained.

"It would be something that we suggest to families at home. Particularly to help with behaviors with some of the patients that get agitated at times," Dr. Reding added.

When Junior is in his music room with his ukulele in hand, everything becomes simpler. Something that his wife Sherry says is priceless.

"It was well worth it because it has given him a place to come and be himself," Sherry said.