How is Music Beneficial for Seniors?July 27, 2023
There isn’t anything more unifying in the world than music. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, or what your background is—there is bound to be music that inspires passionate feelings in you. But music can do even more than that. Research shows that it can almost act as medicine, especially for older adults. But how is music beneficial for seniors?
How is music beneficial for seniors?
All of us have listened to a favorite song and instantly felt an improvement in our mood. Alternatively, we’ve also felt an emotional pang from a sad song. Responses to music have been shown to light up all areas of our brains, which leads to these strong emotional responses.
The positive impacts even just listening to music has on our moods can be felt in our health too. Through the stimulation of dopamine, music simultaneously can lower the stress hormone, cortisol, which increases feelings of stress and anxiety. It may even decrease levels of depression and pain.
Research has also shown that those suffering from age-related cognitive decline (such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease), may experience benefits with their memory. Singing along to a song on the radio slates seniors in the present and brings back memories. This may even slow cognitive decline and improve processing speeds.
What is music therapy?
In seeing the clear benefits of even just passively listening to music, researchers developed a new form of therapy: music therapy. Through the use of listening to or playing music, therapists help patients work towards their individualized goals—such as improving mood. The benefits of music therapy for seniors are numerous.
- Improve memory and focus. To participate and make music, participants must focus on memorizing words, patterns, and rhythms. Practicing focus inspires memory.
- Decrease depression and stress. Even listening to music can improve feelings of depression, fear, and hopelessness. Engaging with music helps us build connections with others. In those with dementia, music can calm agitation.
- Aid with socialization. Some older adults (especially those experiencing cognitive decline) may be quite socially anxious. Music therapy provides them with a unique opportunity to connect with others.
How can I incorporate music into my life?
If you’re looking to engage further with music past listening to it on the radio, there are plenty of ways right in your community. Take advantage of all the Chicago area has to offer and immerse yourself deeper in the world of music.
Learn a new instrument
You’re never too old to learn something new—and that includes music. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, through quality instruction you can become confident at your instrument of choice. The Old Town Music School Old Town School of Folk MusicOld Town School of Folk Musicis a reputable location for music lessons, but don’t be afraid to look into private instruction too. Look up lessons in your area to find what suits you.
Join a musical groupOld Town School of Folk Music
Whether you’ve been playing your instrument for two years or 20, there is space for you in an ensemble. Look up local bands, orchestras, or choirs to benefit from the effects of music and community alike. This is especially easy if you are already a part of a church or community group that gathers on a regular basis.
Go to live performances
Live music has a completely different feeling to it than music played by speakers. Thankfully, Chicago is a hub for all things music. From musicals, to orchestras, to artists on tour, there is something for everyone. There are even plenty of free performances you can enjoy across the Chicago area in the summer months.
Care at home
At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff is available to assist with any and all activities of daily living you require help with, whether that’s companionship or personal care. For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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