Preserve those precious memories with some oldies but goodies

You forget the day of your doctor's appointment... what you needed to pick up from the store... and maybe even your wedding anniversary.

But put on a toe-tapping tune from your teenage years, and you can still remember all the words!

Just a few of those first notes, and all those vivid memories come rushing back. That homecoming dance... those long drives with the top down... and family picnics, beach days, and backyard BBQs.

Hearing that great old music makes it easy to forget how forgetful you've become.

It's a powerful thing -- and, according to a new study, listening to music can also help if it turns out that your "brain burps" are a sign of something more serious,

The study out of Brown University involved 25,000 nursing home patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Half of them lived in homes where the residents listened to playlists of their favorite music, while the other half lived in music-free homes.

It turned out that in nursing homes with music, Alzheimer's patients were significantly less likely to need anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety meds, compared to those in non-program homes.

Plus, the music listeners were far less likely to act out with the kind of disruptive behavior that so often accompanies the disease (and that often supposedly warrants doping up the patients beyond all recognition).

What's more, the music even helped patients with cases of HIGHLY advanced Alzheimer's.

Now, the fact that music eased the participants' anxiety and agitation doesn't come as a big surprise to me -- because previous studies have shown that music can do everything from improving sleep to reducing chronic pain to helping cancer patients heal.

But this news is "music" to my ears as far as Alzheimer's is concerned -- as anything that can calm and comfort someone in the late stages of the disease, while allowing them to still feel like themselves, is a blessing.

Luckily, the ability to appreciate music is something that sticks around long after Alzheimer's robs you or a loved one of speech, memory, and independence.

That's because sounds and rhythm are processed by the "motor center" of your brain, which isn't compromised by Alzheimer's.

If someone you love is struggling with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, you can access pretty much any type of music on your smartphone, tablet, or computer with the touch of a button.

Whether it's swingin' Big Band or jumpin' jive, nearly every song ever recorded is now at your fingertips!

There are free and low-cost internet services like Spotify or iTunes, but this may be the perfect excuse to get that old record player out and dust off some of those classic LPs.

And, by all means, get up and dance -- because studies show that dancing protects against dementia.