Its Never Too Late to Start Learning Music!
June 07, 2021 by DaveesP
“I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.” - Billy Joel
The use of music therapy as a well-established positive intervention tool is being currently researched to promote healing and improve the quality of life among senior citizens. Researchers are finding out that any kind of musical activity, including learning to play an instrument, singing or even just listening to music can bring about multiple benefits among the older generation. In fact, music can be used therapeutically to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
Read on to find out more about how music therapy can enrich the lives of the elderly.
The Benefits of Music Therapy in the Elderly:
• Music increases social interaction:
Music has universal appeal and its power to draw people together can be used in helping the elderly build social connections. People usually feel a sense of community when singing or listening to music in groups and the use of familiar song material can often be the impetus for establishing social awareness and interaction among seniors. “Through music, assisted living residents with these health conditions are able to live more fully. They are not defined by their conditions or their need for medicines and skilled medical care. They become engaged members of a supportive community that encourages emotional growth, sharing, and self-worth. This can be vitally important to seniors who experience a number of difficult life events such as retirement, the death of a loved one or spouse, and the need for help with common tasks.”
• Music enhances memory and recall:
Music has shown dramatic results in improving memory and recall, especially in those elders affected by dementia, memory problems or Alzheimer's disease. This may be due to the fact that the part of the brain that works with speech is different than the part that processes music, which is what allows people with significant speech difficulties to still enjoy music as an activity
• Music reduces stress and anxiety:
Much research has been conducted on the relaxing effect of music, but elders especially seem to benefit more from listening to music. Older adults who developed a habit of listening to music for 45 minutes prior to bedtime slept better and longer. The study also reported a marked improvement in the quality of their sleep. This is primarily because listening to music decreases the levels of adrenalin and increases those of serotonin, a hormone which peaks when a person is in a meditative state or when they go through a creative period.
In the elderly, stress and anxiety, often work as catalysts in aggravating heart rate, blood pressure and insulin levels which in turn are major risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. While there are no claims that music can cure diseases, activities like singing and listening to music can lighten the mood and help elderly patients relax better.
• Music alleviates pain and promotes physical rehabilitation:
Research has also shown music to reduce pain, especially in older patients. Doctors in the coronary care unit of Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore report that a half an hour of listening to classical music produced the same effect as ten milligrams of the painkiller Valium• Music improves immunity and general health:
• Music decreases feelings of depression and loneliness:
Music has been shown to decrease feelings of depression and loneliness, a significant feature that affects a large percent of the senior population. "We feel very strongly that the work we are doing here suggests that abundant health benefits can be achieved by older people learning to play music in a supportive, socially enjoyable setting."
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