9 Music Therapy Benefits for Seniors
Numerous therapies can help seniors stay alert, focused, happy, and healthy. Physical therapy, for example, strengthens muscles and increases mobility, while speech therapy targets communication issues.
Another popular treatment is a complementary and alternative therapy that utilizes the power of music and song to enhance the health and wellness of seniors.
What is Music Therapy for Seniors?
Music therapy uses the uplifting nature of music to help seniors enhance their mental health and general well-being. Trained and accredited professionals sing, play songs or instruments, or encourage seniors to create songs and music themselves. This alternative health approach may improve the quality of life for aging seniors, especially those living with anxiety, depression, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Music therapy can also help with social and emotional functioning, mental processing, and physical health. It can also be used during palliative care or hospice.
Advantages of Music Therapy for Seniors
Here are some benefits of music therapy, and how a senior care provider can help your older loved one get the most out of this experience:
- Promotes cognitive function
Studies have shown that music, songs, or playing an instrument can stimulate certain areas of the brain to increase blood flow. Increased blood flow transmits oxygen and nutrients that can help brain function.
- Improves memory
Music activates both the left and right sides of the brain at the same time. The activation of both hemispheres can enhance memory.
- Fosters communication
Music can improve speech skills and motivate the elderly to express themselves by singing, moving their hands, or humming. This increased expression boosts communication levels.
- Reduces depression
Music, including singing and playing an instrument, can reduce depression and anxiety. Cheerful tones and catchy beats of music lift moods naturally and can promote a positive disposition.
- Reduces stress
Current research has shown music at 60 beats per minute can synchronize the brain with the beat. This synchronization produces alpha brainwaves, which are present when we are relaxed.
- Inspires movement
As people get older, their mobility and physical activities decline, causing muscle atrophy. Music, with its natural rhythm, stimulates movement and can help seniors move their feet and hands to get the blood circulating.
- Builds social connections and engagement
Music therapy can be conducted in a group and increase social connections through a shared activity. Music also enables seniors to listen and be present in the moment, helping them to engage more in their everyday life.
- Increased self-esteem
Singing and listening to music can increase self-esteem and confidence through interaction and feelings of self-accomplishment and positivity.
- Physical rehab
Music not only helps with mood, but it can assist physical rehab as well. Music promotes movement which in turn boosts mobility. Hand and foot movement fostered by music therapy can assist seniors recovering from an injury, arthritis, or another chronic condition.
How Can an In-Home Caregiver Help with Music Therapy?
The power of music can evoke fond memories, lift one’s mood, and decrease anxiety and depression. Although in-home caregivers may not be certified music therapists, they can help your loved one get all the benefits at home.
In-home caregivers can find opportunities for your loved one to listen and enjoy music in the comforts of home. They can follow the recommendations of a certified music therapist, making sure to turn on the right tunes at the correct volume for an appropriate amount of time. They can also engage your older loved one to move, dance, sing, and have fun.
Keeping the brain active is critical to maintaining the overall health and well-being of seniors inside the home. Consider adding music therapy to your loved one’s routine, and allow them to enjoy its soothing and melodic benefits.