As humans, we have been going for tens of thousands of years and some things are therefore intrinsically human and resonate with us all in different ways.
The oldest paintings that have been found are on caves in France and they are believed to be many thousands of years old. Whilst the theory behind why the paintings were made is about information sharing about the times and places that animals for food were available, the way the information was shared is through art.
There is no records of when the first music was made, but no doubt someone picked up a stick and banged it on a hollow log or against a stone and made the first percussion instrument. This no doubt was followed by someone tapping their foot along to the sound and the first dance was created.
We have also been gathering around a flickering fire to tell stories, which we as humans are hard wired for. We do it now, gather around the flickering screen in the corner of the room as actors tell us a story.
We have also been eating forever, it is how it fuels our bodies, but somewhere along the way, we began to share it and create festivals and food became an integral part of the festival, which was shared with others.
As humans we are pack creatures, we have learnt to live co-operatively together and banishment from the tribe is likely to have been a death sentence thousands of years ago. So whilst we may not get on with everyone, disapproval of others is always hard to take, because the risk for our ancient ancestors was the loss of their place in the tribe. We all seek social acceptance in some way or another, we all need a place or a tribe that we can feel we belong to.
There are lots of other things as humans that we have been doing for a long time, including feeding the stray dog or cat that may have come near to the tribe.
Each of us has our own version of how we do these things that we are hardwired for. Some of us will love a romantic comedy film, others love horror, but we love a story being told. We will have different tastes in music, art and dance, yet there will be some form of it that we love.
And as for our social gatherings, some of us will have a couple of close friends, others will have a party for hundreds, as their social circle will be much wider. Even socially anxious people need to connect, just not with as many people and not as intensely.
These things that we as humans are hard wired for will also be true for people with dementia, we just cannot undo the millennia of biology that it took to create those things that we all do in some way. It can therefore be a way to connect with people with dementia, they might not like the music that others do, but there will be something that they enjoy.
Find those things that they enjoy of the things that we are all hard wired for. It can be connecting and can change a mood, it can be calming or exciting or frightening (with horror stories), but all of these things will trigger a particular mood and feeling within us all.