Many people listen and enjoy the company of music but don’t know the benefits it brings. Music can spark a number of emotions, cognitive and social issues in people of all ages. The relationship between music and the brain is particularly special. The benefits of listening to music are well documented in studies, showing advantages to physical, mental and emotional health. Here are a few benefits of music therapy and reasons why senior citizens should consider listening to music more.
Mood and Stress:
Music can be incredibly calming for seniors who are agitated, or uplifting for those who feel depressed. In dementia patients, music therapy can have lasting effects on the mood and behaviors. According to Practical Neurology, “Listening to familiar music can elicit pleasurable responses such as smiling or moving/dancing even when communication is lost.” Another great thing about music therapy is that music doesn’t need to be familiar to apply these enhancements.
It isn’t uncommon for seniors, especially those with dementia, to experience some degree of memory loss. Music not only enhances the mood of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but it also increases their mental skills. According to doctors at Mayo Clinic, “Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.” Listening to music from their past can evoke memories that they may not have accessed in years.
Many seniors begin to clap or tap their toes, even hum or sing along with songs they enjoy. If possible, seniors and a loved one may consider to get up and dance. This is extremely good for seniors because most individuals often spend a lot of time in sedentary positions. When you get up and move it also provides emotional, cognitive, physical and social benefits. These positive responses from the music and movement can be breakthroughs for seniors who may have become withdrawn and disconnected for society.
Listening to music in groups often results in interaction among seniors. Encouraging seniors to sing along to music can enhance their mood and relationships with others. This therapeutic technique uses multiple elements of music like rhythm or melody to help patients remember verbal contexts. Sometimes they are just happy to be with others who enjoyed the same music in their youth and have a lot to talk about. Others sing along together.
At Renaissance Home Health Care and Adult Day Services, we offer a full range of individualized services that promote social, physical, and emotional well-being. Our Director of Patient Services, Marise Deaussou explains that, “We provide music therapy programs to ensure that seniors are improving physically, mentally, and emotionally no matter their age. Our therapeutic services help our clients recall memories, encourage movement, improve stress and mood, and enhance social interactions.” Our goal is to help seniors become as independent with the best quality of life as possible through our programs, therapies and other Signature Touch Programs.