The Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors
Everyone from newborns to those on hospice care can appreciate music, but for seniors, music therapy can have an array of benefits. From memory recall to movement, the right music and a trained therapist can have a profound impact. Therapists have been using music to both treat specific effects of aging like dementia, as well as improve the overall mood or mental health of those who might have a reduced amount of mobility as they age.
You Don’t Have to Be a Professional to Enjoy Music
If you or a loved one is growing older and is experiencing a loss of enjoyment, socialization, memory, etc. indulging in a bit of music may have positive effects. Seeking the trained guidance of musical therapy can amplify these affects, however you don’t have to be a trained professional to start reaping some of these benefits today, in the privacy of your own living space.
Just Some of the Healthy Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors:
When you hear a song that you like, it can be hard to fight tapping your toes, snapping your fingers, clapping your hands, or even getting up and dancing. For seniors who are currently experiencing a reduction in their mobility, music therapy can help protect the range of movement that they do have.
Depending on the program, and the application of music therapy, musical instruments like drums or tambourines might be incorporated to help facilitate this movement. Not only is this a great form of therapy, but it can be just plain fun!
Encourage Social Interaction
Depending upon the facility and the mode of therapy, music therapy is often held in a group session. During these sessions, musicians are encouraged to participate in group activities which encourage communication and help participants meet new people. Skills learned in these sessions can be practiced with these newly discovered friends outside of the therapy sessions thus compounding their impact.
Improve Cognitive Skills
Current studies are focusing on the impact that music has on the brain, specifically in those who suffer from dementia. Music has the ability to help seniors process thoughts and recall memories which are great exercises for the brain, especially in seniors. Specifically, studies have shown that playing music from an Alzheimer patient’s childhood can have a positive impact.
Speech and Language Skills
As we age, conditions like dementia can diminish our ability to verbalize our thoughts and make decisions. Music has been found to stimulate different parts of the brain and can sometimes encourage patients who have become nonverbal to begin communicating again. This might be as simple as humming or singing along to a tune, or actually beginning to formulate interactions with caregivers and family.
Music is a great stress reliever. Aging, and the physical and mental effects it has on us can be very stressful. Music can transport us to another time and place, engage the mind to provide a break from our current situation, and help calm our nerves. Music has the ability to physically lower heart-rates and cortisol levels which are responses or manifestations of stress in our bodies.
It’s Just Plain Fun
As we age, whether we are able to remain in our homes or are placed in a care facility, we engage less with others and ultimately have less enjoyment. Music can revive some of that enjoyment and inspire fun. It can be a way for caregivers to positively engage with their patients and find common ground.