How Does Music Impact Seniors?

How Does Music Impact Seniors

Everyone loves music to varying degrees. But did you know that we are programmed to love music? And did you know that music impacts our lives and our health? In this post, we will discuss how the piece affects seniors specifically.

Music Speaks to Us

Music is an exciting and unique thing. It is nothing but a simple sound or a group of sounds with harmony and order. Take any sound and make it follow a beat, a rhythm, or some orderly mathematical pattern (the musical fifths, for example), and you have music.

And even though not everyone knows the ins and outs of music, how to make it, or understand why they sound nice, we can all appreciate music to some degree. So why do we know music? And what does it do to our lives and our health?

Have you ever heard a song that speaks to you? It does not just sing to you – it talks to you and sends you a message. That feeling does not deteriorate overage. On the contrary, that feeling grows as we get older.

Music Improves the Memory of Seniors

Music is one of the most potent tools of nostalgia. It evokes strong memories and feelings of the distant past. The nostalgic effect of music is most potent among seniors. In other words, music impacts seniors by improving their memory.

The same melodies that spoke to us when we first heard it will still talk to us about when we listen to it fifty years later. Music evokes emotion, and intense feeling triggers a memory.

And the facts that support the nostalgic power of music are not just “touchy-feely.” There is solid and concrete evidence that displays the power of music. Research shows that the parts of the brain are less damaged significantly than processed music by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia than other parts of the brain.

In a blog we published here on Infinite Love Homecare, we showed the links between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease. In that blog, we focused on how the loss of auditory stimulants causes parts of the brain to shrink, get tired, or feel isolated. But guess what is one of the most potent auditory stimulants? That’s right, music!

The music we love triggers parts of the brain that no other thing can trigger. The music we love evokes strong emotions that we can associate with other aspects of our lives. And those solid emotions plus the activation of the brain combined improves the memory. Those effects of music are most substantial among seniors.

So again, how does music impact seniors? First and foremost, it improves their memory.

Decreases Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness

The feeling of isolation and loneliness are highly damaging, especially to seniors. But music can open the door to combating the crippling feelings of isolation and loneliness.

In many cases, music can open the way to avenues of communication – literally! As already discussed above, music improves areas of the brain and makes them immune to dementia. But music does more than that. Research shows that music improves the cognitive and speech capabilities of people living with dementia.

Exposure to music helps in language processing – that is good news to seniors who are most vulnerable to dementia. One of the severest effects of dementia is the slow loss of speech capability. But music helps combat that.

Another way that music decreases isolation and loneliness among seniors is that there are tons of music-related activities seniors can enjoy. These activities include Karaoke, dancing, jamming with friends, or watching musical performances with peers that seniors can participate.

Plus, the connections that seniors can form with others through music help them build relationships and strengthen the bond of friendships and familial love.

Music impacts seniors by decreasing the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Improves Mood, Reduces Stress, and Boosts Overall Health

There are a lot of benefits that music provides – too much to cover in one sitting. The other benefits of music include:

  • Improves the mood
  • Reduces stress
  • Combats anxiety
  • And boosts overall health

And, depending on the melody and how upbeat it is, music can induce happiness.

Of these other benefits of music, let’s look closely at only one: boosts overall health. So how can music promote the overall health of seniors?

Did you know that music makes seniors more open to exercise? Music reduces the feelings of fatigue during a workout. It also excites the mind, so it wants to do more of the exercise. It improves motor coordination, and it fights off the feelings of pain.

Also, music helps in relaxation. It helps improve the quality of sleep. And it dispels tension which can lead to a whole lot of physical health problems.

Lastly, music helps improve the overall health through the other effects – memory improvement, better mood, less anxiety, decreased feeling of isolation and loneliness, etc. So all of the benefits of music, small and significant, contribute to better overall health.

It’s Time to Get Musical

There are tons of ways that music impacts seniors. It affects their health and the quality of their lives. By simply listening to music, seniors can get more out of life. And if you have a senior parent or friend, help them get the benefits of music. There are a lot of ways to go about introducing music back into the lives of seniors.

Karaoke in a family get-together, sing-alongs, dancing to their favorite tunes, watching fun musical shows, playing instruments, and jamming together – the ways to improve a senior’s quality of living through music are endless.

You don’t have to be a professional musician to reap the benefits of music fully. But that does not mean that any piece will do. So here is a short guide, courtesy of Infinite Love Homecare, on how to choose the right music that will impact seniors the most positively.

Choose music that is:

  • Enjoyable
  • Familiar or nostalgic (to trigger memory)
  • Elicits the right emotions – upbeat for happy memories, for example

Suitable for various activities like dancing

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