Senior ladies listening to music.

How Can Music Benefit Seniors in Assisted Living?

Music plays an important role in life for people of all ages, forging connections to pivotal events and fond memories. Research has found that music can promote relaxation, improve productivity and lower stress.

For seniors, pleasing melodies can deliver even more benefits for physical and mental health, memory and important social connections. What are some of the specific ways that music in assisted living improves quality of life for seniors?

Promoting Overall Wellness

Music has the power to stimulate feelings of well-being by evoking powerful memories and emotions. Seniors who have trouble remembering recent events may find meaning in songs that bring back older memories, and experts note that music can improve a person with dementia’s quality of life.

For many seniors in assisted living, music provides benefits, including lessening of pain and discomfort without the use of medicines, improved ability to remember recent events, positive changes in mood and an increased sense of self-sufficiency.

Encouraging Exercise

Music can be highly motivating during any type of exercise, including walking, dancing, stretching and working out with weights. The right music plays an important role in encouraging seniors to get more physical activity, which can help maintain independence and restore function lost due to injuries or illnesses.

Seniors of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from an increase in movement, which helps improve muscle strength, flexibility, heart health, bone density and balance. By choosing appropriate music for various types of physical activities, assisted living professionals help seniors increase activity at a safe and beneficial pace.

Improving Memory

Music therapy can increase brain chemicals that arouse positive feelings in people diagnosed with dementia, experts say. If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you may have noticed that music can seem to lift her spirits and even transform her entire demeanor.

Not only does music aid in the treatment of dementia, it can also help prevent the debilitating disease, some researchers believe. Assisted living communities make music a focal point, with a special emphasis on well-known tunes that evoke connections to long-ago memories.

Decreasing Isolation

For some seniors, a variety of health problems can make communication more difficult as they age. The resulting isolation can increase health risks — and shorten life spans.

In many cases, music opens up avenues of communication that otherwise may not be available. Research has demonstrated that listening to music on a regular basis can enhance communication for people with dementia by improving cognition and language abilities.

Music-related activities in assisted living — including dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, listening to music and watching musical performances — can spark discussions that improve connections with friends and family members.

The Transformative Power of Music

On a daily basis, seniors in assisted living benefit from music that boosts moods, encourages exercise, discourages isolation and promotes overall mental and physical health. If you provide care for a senior, consider the following tips from the Alzheimer’s Association for choosing music that improves quality of life.

Try to select music that is:

  • Enjoyable and familiar.
  • Consistent with the mood you want to encourage. For example, an upbeat song may help elicit positive memories.
  • Suitable for clapping, singing and dancing along.

By using the power of music, you may improve communication with your loved one and share joyful moments together.

 

Sources:
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain

http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/news/story1.shtml

http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-music-art-therapy.asp#music

http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/isolation/info-2012/health-effects-of-social-isolation.html