Music has numerous effects on people. It can inspire high emotions, transport us back in time to re-experience fond (or not so fond) memories, or soothe away agitation and stress. For many of us, music plays a vital role in our lives, and this can be especially true for senior citizens. Not only can it make the waning days of life a little more pleasant, music can also have powerful healing and therapeutic effects on the elderly.
Independence and Fulfillment
Music can be used to help senior feel a stronger sense of independence. For example, independence is grounded in the ability to choose what you will do and when you will do it. In a senior care situation such as assisted living, providing seniors with as many choices as possible – including choices of what music they will listen to – will help them feel more in control over their lives.
Also, if they are able to play a musical instrument, having opportunities to do so will also help them feel more independent and, therefore, more at ease. This can also be a great way to help them find a sense of fulfillment by practicing a skill.
The body’s internal rhythms naturally adjust to match with the tone and pace of music. Studies have shown that music therapy has benefits for all age groups, including the elderly. It has numerous soothing and healing effects, and can even benefit those with dementia and memory loss. Some precise benefits that come with music therapy are:
- Reduced muscle tension and relaxation of the body
- Decreased stress
- Increased awareness and concentration
- Improved memory and learning ability
- Boosted interest levels
These results are due to many factors. Familiar music stimulates memories, which can have either strong emotional effects or a calming influence. Also, classical music has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels in those recovering from open-heart surgery. In some cases, unfamiliar tunes may be preferred to familiar ones since they may not carry strong emotional associations, allowing for a purely calming effect.
Many Senior Care Centers facilities have music therapists available to help residents receive all of these benefits. Music therapy can be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, but only if it is prescribed by a doctor, involves a treatment plan, and brings signs of improvement.
People tend to remember music far longer than facts like names and birthdays. Since music ingrains itself so deeply in the mind, it can be used to help those with memory loss resulting from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Using music to invoke past memories can also help someone calm down, depending on the memory.
Whether you or a loved one is in need of assisted living service, skilled nursing care, or memory care, music can be immensely beneficial. At Senior Care Centers, we provide specialized services to our residents, including musical therapy, all with the aim of making life as comfortable, independent, and fulfilling as possible. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us today.