The Importance of Music
There is something about music that triggers our emotions. Upbeat, rhythmically heavy tunes that make your toes tap can cause happiness. Slow, drawn out melodies in minor keys can tug at the heart strings. Add lyrics that relate to a sadness you’ve known or that you can sympathize with and you very well may have tears streaming down your cheeks. Music can calm the soul, incite happiness, and provoke sadness in children, teens, adults, and seniors alike.
Not only is music pleasing to the ear, but for seniors it can also aid in improving health.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Studies have shown that music stimulates the brain. For seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, music can help improve memory as well as brain processing. Music evokes memories from decades ago, bringing about significant responses and recognition. This helps seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia to connect the music with various memories of places and people.
Parkinson’s and Stroke Patients
When it comes to seniors who have had strokes or who are in various stages of Parkinson’s disease, rhythmic music can provide comfort. There are studies that have shown that music therapy can help regain some functioning of their body. Part of that therapy includes listening to slow and steady rhythms or pulsing pitches. These rhythms helps the patient’s body move more steadily as it reacts to the beat.
Distress and Moods
Stress and anxiety are present from the time that we‘re little children and doesn’t necessarily go away, we just find ways to manage it. Seniors can experience stress or anxious situations daily, but people who listen to music regularly tend to be happier. This can also be attributed to the fact that listening to calm music can settle down those who are agitated, and listening to upbeat music can increase serotonin, which elevates our moods…making us happy!
If you feel like introducing more music into your/your loved ones schedule, here are some easy ways to begin:
- Playing music in the background throughout the day can provide a calm atmosphere. Make sure you are noticing the effects that music is having. If you notice a particular song or genre begins to agitate your loved one, then try not to play that song or type of music.
- Find a music program or encourage singing or the playing of an instrument. Participating in music programs where they can sing, play, or just listen to music can increase socialization, lower the heart rate, and provide a sense of accomplishment.
- Find live music to enjoy! Many park districts and cities have free concerts, especially in the summer.
Don’t forget that participating with the senior in your life can also help improve their health. Enjoying the activities we love with the people we interact with helps to maintain relationships, create more connections, and allow for more memories to be built.