Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors

Posted by Senior Solutions Management Group on Aug 14, 2023 8:00:00 AM | 2 minute read

For many of us, music is a meaningful form of entertainment and relaxation. But did you know that it can also provide powerful therapeutic benefits as well? Music therapy for aging adults has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s no wonder that many senior living communities have included this type of therapy as a part of their holistic wellness plan to help residents restore and maintain their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. 

Here's a look at how music therapy works, and how it can benefit seniors.

What is music therapy?

In music therapy, a trained music therapist works with seniors to help support emotional responses, relieve pain or discomfort and increase relaxation. Music therapy sessions may include anything from listening to music and dancing to singing and playing instruments with the purpose of helping seniors achieve their individual goals. Senior living communities often offer music therapy programs to help residents deal with common issues such as stress, depression and memory impairment.

Some of the many benefits of music therapy include:

It increases memory and cognition. 

Music is often associated with certain events, and sometimes just hearing a song can trigger positive memories from a senior’s past.  In adults with dementia, music can also help evoke special memories and elicit meaningful responses.

It improves communication skills. 

Studies show that when used as therapy, music can help seniors respond to questions, make decisions and speak clearer. For older adults with dementia, music may also help slow the deterioration of speech and language skills. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has lost their ability to speak may still be able to recognize a song and respond by humming or singing along. 

It encourages socialization. 

In group settings, music therapy programs encourage seniors to connect and communicate with other residents or care providers. Music enjoyed in the company of others can help improve social skills and nurture friendships in group therapy settings. 

It inspires movement. 

Energetic and upbeat music has physical benefits as it promotes movement and dancing. Older adults can improve their coordination and balance by following a song’s rhythm and beat. Even seniors with limited mobility can experience the physical benefits of music by clapping or tapping their toes to increase blood flow. 

It reduces stress. 

Research has found that listening to music can help impact emotions by reducing stress levels. In senior living communities, when residents feel irritated, depressed or overwhelmed, playing soothing music can help uplift moods and ease their anxiety. 

Is music therapy right for you?

Anyone can participate and benefit from music therapy. Whether it is music softly playing in your home, a local musician performing at a concert or a formal music therapy program offered in your senior living community, music is a powerful tool that can be weaved into nearly every aspect of life.  By harnessing the power of music now, your aging parent or loved one will experience improved communication, memory, socialization and overall quality of life. 

Topics: Senior Health

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