Most of us have experienced some of the proven health benefits of music – from its mood-boosting powers to its ability to improve sleep quality. In recent years, it has even been used as a form of therapy. The results are particularly pronounced in older adults. Here is a closer look at some of the benefits of music therapy for seniors.
Music has dramatic effects on older adults with dementia. Researchers at the University of Utah recently found that listening to familiar songs increased connectivity levels in several brain regions. This finding suggests that music may help dementia patients connect to the world around them.
Music is also believed to relieve symptoms of depression. The portion of our brains that is stimulated when we hear a song seems to be relatively unaffected by mental illness. Many senior care professionals say they have noticed their withdrawn residents seemingly coming to life after listening to tunes from their youth.
Many older adults struggle with social isolation, especially if they live alone. This can have a number of consequences, including:
- Cognitive decline
- Pessimism about the future
- Poor mental and physical health
Fortunately, music has the power to bring people together, whether at concerts, weddings or even senior living communities. In music therapy programs, participants are encouraged to communicate with other group members, which can help them develop new friendships and ease feelings of loneliness.
Music can also foster family bonding. Seniors can play favorite songs from their childhood for their grandchildren, and kids can introduce their grandparents to current hits. They may even find they share similar tastes in music!
Some songs are so infectious they make people want to move their bodies. Scientists say there is a strong connection between music and movement, which may be because both stimulate our brains’ reward centers.
Music therapy programs encourage seniors who may have trouble staying active due to health problems engage with the music, whether it is by dancing, clapping or tapping their toes. Research has shown that even a little bit of physical activity can boost your mood.
Grief is a universal experience, yet everyone processes it differently. Some older adults struggle with feelings of loss as their spouse or close friends die, or even because of changes to their physical or mental state. Music therapists can work with seniors to put together a compilation of meaningful songs that may help them cope.
As we age, managing stress can become more difficult. Many seniors find themselves facing new sources of anxiety, such as health conditions or the loss of loved ones. While medication can help ease tension, music may be an even more powerful stress management tool.
Listening to music can have a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, including:
- Decreasing stress hormone levels
- Lowering blood pressure
- Slowing the heart rate
The type of music played is also important. Slow, quiet classical music is typically recommended for those who are experiencing anxiety due to its calming effect.
Exceptional Senior Care in St. Augustine, FL
Music can be a powerful tool for people of all ages to connect with their communities and improve their outlook on life. At Silver Creek, we believe in using music and other group activities as a way to provide our residents opportunities for socialization and enrichment. You can rest assured that your loved one will have all of their needs met in our safe, caring community, nestled in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida.
Contact us online to learn more or call 800-940-0988 to schedule a tour.
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