Music is an incredibly powerful force. Listening to the opening notes from a song can bring you back to the first time you heard it, what you were doing, where you were, how you felt and so on. Because of this, music therapy for seniors has become a tool to help them with cognition, as well as, with physical activity and temperament. Playing music for your loved one has a multitude of benefits for seniors and is a great practice to incorporate into their daily routine.
1. Memory Benefits
Music therapy for seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia has become popular as it is often easier to remember songs or melodies than traditional memories. Being able to recognize a song is a beautiful feat for folks who struggle to remember names, events, and other significant things.
How exactly does music affect the brains of the elderly? Listening to music stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain especially when the music triggers a specific emotion, time or event. Music can help enhance memory and bring them back to a particular time when they listened to that same song or how that song used to make them feel. Music can also be a tool to help them communicate and engage with those around them.
2. Movement Benefits
Listening to music often causes people to tap their toes or clap their hands, activities that release pent-up mental and physical stress. Dancing to music is also an incredibly beneficial activity for seniors as it acts as a form of exercise that can lower blood pressure and stimulate the body's organs. And on another note, a room that has a group of seniors singing along to a song while clapping their hands, stomping their feet, or dancing is a room filled with energy and cheer.
3. Mood Benefits
Music is a beautiful way to liven up a senior's day and can help alleviate boredom, sadness, nervousness and a host of other problems. Something as simple as listening to a song that they used to love when they were younger can instantly lift their mood and remind them of all the wonderful times they've had. Or if your loved one is feeling restless or anxious, classical music, in particular, can be used as a soothing force to help them relax and release their stress.
So how can you help your loved one experience the many benefits of music?
Talk to them about what their favorite songs were back in the day and listen to them with them or even sing them together. We've curated a playlist for seniors with classics by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and many more on spotify! Now you and your loved one can listen to the classics and connect over the powerful bond of music. Happy listening!