“Not many things stimulate the brain the way music does. Keeping your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool to use. Its like working out, but for the brain.” Keep reading to understand the remarkable benefits of music therapy in senior health care as it has been extensively proven to aid in improving health and overall well-being.
“You Are My Sunshine” is a great song to use for musical memory.
Many researchers have proven that listening to music or singing songs can provide an emotional and behavioral benefit for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. People have musical memories that are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “ Music therapies delay the onset of cognitive decline in older people, as well as helping those who already suffer from it.” Physically, music therapy has a profound impact on seniors’ health. It can stimulate movement and coordination, aiding in maintaining or regaining physical abilities. Engaging in rhythmic activities, such as light drumming or exercising, can improve motor skills and balance. Additionally, music therapy can reduce pain perception and promote relaxation, helping seniors manage chronic pain conditions more effectively. This physical engagement not only enhances their physical well-being but also contributes to an improved sense of vitality and overall quality of life.
The Impact of Melodies
Music therapy is often recommended or integrated into biopsychosocial care. As a robust stimulus, music impacts the brain in myriad ways. Therapeutic music experiences have been shown to yield evidence of more regulated states, including improved capacity to self-regulate and connect with others
Music therapy also holds tremendous mental benefits for seniors, particularly those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Music has a unique ability to evoke memories and emotions, even in individuals with advanced cognitive decline. Listening to familiar songs or participating in musical activities can unlock memories, spark connections, and improve communication.
It provides a means of self-expression and emotional release, reducing anxiety, agitation, and depression commonly associated with these conditions. The power of music therapy in preserving cognitive function and enhancing mental well-being is evident in the joy, engagement, and increased social interaction it brings to seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What Can Music Improve?
Directing a person’s attention away from their pain with music therapy can help ease pain and lessen stress, too. Playing or listening to music helps you breathe rhythmically. This can improve respiratory health, help you release body tension, and lift up your mood — all of which can positively impact your overall quality of life (Brennan, D., 2021) . Physically as well as mentally, music therapy can help with:
- Memory processing and recall
- Heart and cardiovascular health
- Muscle strength
- Bone density
- Balance and coordination
- Language and speech skills
- Reduction and possible prevention of symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline
- Lowering stress and anxiety levels
- Quality of sleep
- Boosting creativity and productivity
- Promoting faster healing
By incorporating music therapy into senior care, we can harness its remarkable physical and mental benefits to improve the overall health and well-being of seniors, providing them with a pathway to enhanced vitality, emotional well-being, and an improved quality of life.