According to the American Music Therapy Association, studies have shown that music can provide comfort and relief to seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are many ways to incorporate music therapy for the elderly, including creating playlists, popping in a sing-along DVD, or only singing along with your loved one and the music. The relationship between music and the elderly can be beneficial both as a form of stress relief and to aid in cognitive abilities. Keep on reading to explore how music can assist seniors in living a quality life. Music for the elderly can help promote overall health and wellness while eliciting positive memories and reactions. Here are the benefits of music for the elderly:
One of the benefits of playing music for the elderly is that it promotes exercise. Studies show that music aids in increasing coordination and mobility in seniors. It also helps motivate walking, running, dancing, and even stretching. Seniors of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from increased movement, improving muscle strength, flexibility, heart health, bone density, and balance.
Promotes Overall Wellness
Music has the power to stimulate feelings of well-being by evoking powerful memories and emotions. Seniors who have trouble remembering recent events may find meaning in songs that bring back older memories. Experts note that music can improve a person with dementia’s quality of life. It can help reduce pain and recovery time, increase relaxation, and enhance one’s mood.
Music therapy can increase brain chemicals that arouse positive feelings in people diagnosed with dementia, experts say. If you have a loved one who has dementia, you may have noticed that music can seem to lift her spirits and even transform her entire demeanor. Not only does music aid in the treatment of dementia, but it can also help prevent the debilitating disease. It can help assist in memory recall and also provide a communicative structure.
For some seniors, various health problems can make communication more difficult as they age. The resulting isolation can increase health risks — and shorten life spans. Music-related activities in assisted living — including dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, listening to music, and watching musical performances — can spark discussions that improve connections with friends and family members. Music could also help encourage self-expression and increase your loved one’s self-esteem.
How to Integrate Music into Your Senior Loved One's Life
It is easier than ever to bring music into your parent’s life. Not only has technology made once forgotten media available at the tip of our fingers, but live music is also more abundant than ever. Here are several music activities for seniors to try out:
- Create a personalized playlist with songs that your parents love. With the internet, you can find any song from any era you may be looking for.
- Encourage your loved one to play an instrument they once played. Studies have shown hobbies, like playing music, can help increase self-esteem and is therapeutic for seniors. Playing music can also help slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
- Have a sing-along to a song such as “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Sing-a-longs can also help promote a sense of community and allow people to interact while singing aloud.
- Introduce your loved one to YouTube. Not only will they be able to find music they may have forgotten about, but they can watch live performances from their favorite artists in a bygone era.
Music has a significant impact on our lives, so it only fits to bring it back into your family member’s life as they grow older. Go put that record on and enjoy it together!