How Music Can Improve the Health of Seniors
There’s nothing like the familiar melody of your favorite song to put you in a good mood. But did you know that listening to your most loved tunes can actually have positive health benefits? Especially when it comes to seniors.
News-Medical.Net reported a new study by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, showing that seniors who listened to music 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime sleep better, noting that calm music rather than rhythmic music increases the chances of better sleep quality.
Challenges the brain
A University of Florida study showed how music impacts brain function and behavior, reducing stress, anxiety, and even depression symptoms, while also improving cognitive and motor skills. The study found that when introduced to music, the movement and mobility of Parkinson’s patients improved. The study also noticed that unresponsive Alzheimer’s patients were shown to move and sometimes even sing when listening to music.
Music can be a valuable tool in creating lasting connections with others. Music is a great ice breaker conversation for seniors. Whether it’s chatting about their favorite musicians or dancing along to an old-time favorite, music can create more opportunities for getting out of the house and getting some social interaction. Consider utilizing your local senior center or community arts center for senior music classes, where you’ll get the chance to meet others who are interested in the same type of music. Some classes may focus on learning a new instrument while others will have you put on your dancing shoes and hit the dance floor!
How caregivers can incorporate music into daily care
Music for breakfast
How about a nice music omelet!? Although that sounds like music to our ears, that’s not exactly what we mean…Try infusing music into daily routines that can often seem unexciting, like playing some upbeat classical melodies while cooking up breakfast. Have your senior choose their favorite song or musician while sitting down to meals and ask them to tell you what they love about the song or how they became a fan of that musician. Try infusing familiar music into other daily routines like when driving in the car or folding laundry.
Maybe you know a song or two on the guitar or the keyboard or maybe you have a set of maracas and a tambourine. Get the creative juices flowing by letting your senior be the one to create the music. Have them accompany you on the guitar with the tambourine or with some clapping. Maybe you’ll discover that they are great at singing along. Having them try hard to keep to the beat and rhythm is a creative exercise for the brain.
Dance it out
There’s something about hearing your favorite song that makes you want to get up and dance! If you’re senior is able, try using the music as an opportunity to exercise. Find a song with an upbeat, fast rhythm. Ask your senior to show you some of their best dance moves and dance along with them. If the senior prefers to be seated, have them tap their feet or incorporate movements using the hands and arms. The point is to infuse some movement into their day and have fun!
At MetroCare of Springfield, our Caregivers with our Group Adult Foster Care and Adult Foster Care programs are always discovering new ways to bring smiles and joy to our Members’ lives. Learn more about our Caregivers and programs.