Prioritizing your health is essential at any stage in life. However, it becomes increasingly vital for seniors to maintain physical, mental, and emotional health to lead a fulfilling and joyful life.
Enter music therapy—a unique and powerful approach that uses an individual’s response and connection to music to impact their mood positively.
Music therapy is offered in many hospitals and senior communities to help enhance seniors’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
What Is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a specialized and alternate form of therapy that uses the therapeutic properties of music to improve overall well-being. It involves the intentional use of music, under the guidance of a trained music therapist, to help with confidence, communication skills, independence, awareness, concentration, and attention skills in seniors.
Listening to Music
You can do music therapy with live or recorded music alone or in a group session. Seniors can listen with intentional focus or play it in the background. Music can help release emotions or be used to quieten the mind. Listening to music can be paired with relaxation, exercise, and movement.
Seniors can use the following ways to incorporate music into their life:
- Create a personalized playlist with familial or favorite music or songs.
- Attend concerts or live performances in their community.
- Play familiar music or learn how to play a new instrument.
Create or Play
Creating music or playing with all instruments is one way to actively partake in making music. Because this engages the entire brain, it helps with the following:
- Pain reduction
- Fine and gross motor development
Singing can help seniors develop a connection between their voice, the music, and an instrument. The physical benefits of singing can include lung function, community connection, and emotional benefits.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Music therapy aims to support seniors in various areas, such as personal growth, rehabilitation, and healing processes.
Cognitive Stimulation & Memory Enhancement
For seniors facing cognitive challenges such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, music therapy can be a remarkable tool for stimulating memory recall. Music is non-pharmacological therapy used to prevent cognitive decline for those with mild cognitive impairment.
Music therapy programs for seniors with Alzheimer’s show improvements in symptoms such as depression, memory, orientation, or anxiety. Familiar songs from a senior’s past can transport them back in time, unlocking cherished memories and moments thought to be forgotten. This process can provide joy and comfort and contribute to preserving cognitive function.
Emotional Well-Being & Mood Elevation
Music has an extraordinary ability to uplift the spirit and evoke emotions. Seniors often face emotional challenges due to loneliness, loss, or health issues.
Music therapy can act as a powerful catalyst for emotional expression, allowing seniors to process their feelings. Whether through singing, dancing, or simply listening to music, seniors can experience a boost in mood, reduced anxiety, and an overall sense of emotional well-being.
Physical Rehabilitation & Pain Management
Beyond its impact on the mind and emotions, music therapy can also provide physical benefits to seniors. Engaging with music can release dopamine, a feel-good hormone that can relieve pain.
Music can affect your physiology, such as blood pressure, heartbeat, and respiration. Music therapy, as rehabilitation, can be valuable, particularly for seniors with dementia, managing Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia, or recovering from stroke and aphasia.
Social Connection & Engagement
Seniors often experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially when faced with limited mobility or the loss of loved ones. Music therapy offers a unique opportunity for social interaction and creativity.
Group music sessions, sing-alongs, and music-based activities in senior living communities provide an inclusive and engaging environment where seniors can connect with others with similar interests and experiences. The sense of community fostered through music therapy can lead to lasting friendships, a renewed sense of purpose, and a significant reduction in feelings of social isolation.
Stress Reduction & Improved Sleep
Stress can be an unwelcome companion for many seniors. When you’re stressed, the body releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Listening to music can directly impact stress levels because of its effect on blood pressure and heartbeat. Music therapy can reduce stress and anxiety and promote relaxation in people who have cancer, are undergoing surgery, or are in intensive care units. Furthermore, the positive effects of music therapy can help improve sleep quality in older adults. After all, it’s pain-free, safe, and affordable.
Enriching Seniors Lives
Music therapy has the power to unlock a world of wellness for seniors. The benefits are remarkable, from cognitive stimulation and memory enhancement to emotional well-being, physical rehabilitation, and social connection. When seniors incorporate music therapy into their lives, it provides a powerful tool to enhance their quality of life. Call or visit The Lodge at Historic Lewes to learn about our music programs and events that help enrich residents’ lives.