Music – the most favorite form of art around the world with beautiful songs and melody along with amazing sound of instruments – has an ultimate power in life that without music, life would be a boring unlively black and white picture. A good songs or beautiful melody can enhance mood, recharge body energy and relieve stress for people of every age. Especially, aging population can be highly beneficial from listening to music and music activities.
Psychological Benefits of Music
So, what can music do for our psychological health? This is the easiest question that anyone can answer. The healing power of music to our mind is undeniable which it helps up-bring our mood, enhance positive and creative thinking and relieve stress and depression. For elderly, music plays an important role in enhancing mood and improving emotional control, encouraging showing interest and positive energy. Older people who regularly listens to music has nice and more lively expression, happier outlook on life and have more social interaction compared with those do not have interests in music.
Music can reduce stress and anxiety in seniors as it lowers the stress hormone cortisol level, encourages them to express their feeling freely and creatively and as the results, brings them great joy. Cortisol is one of certain heart diseases, so by interacting with music, elders can have a healthier heart. Also, learning to sing or play instruments can give elders a great sense of accomplishment, improve self-esteem, in which makes older adults less likely to be depressed or have negative thinking.
Studies showed that music actually has good effect on elders’ body and their overall health. By listening to music, body can loosen muscles tension, increase antibody immunoglobon A, reduce the chance of infections and produce immune cells for bacteria and cancer prevention. Moreover, seniors above 65 years old show good responses for treatment process using music. A research was conducted in two years showing that elderly who participated in music program and activities went to doctor less frequently, less need in medication and mental health support than those who had less music involvement.
Having music in daily life can improve sleep quality for elders, allow them to have deep sleep, thus giving body time to recovery and diminish pain. Playing a soft piece of music before going to bed help older adults have good sleep and better functioning on the next day. Dancing to music also enhances body exercising for older people, increases mobility, coordination and cognitive abilities. This reduces the probability of stroke or fastens the recovery process of verbal skills for stroke experienced ones.
According to Johns Hopkins, music can be a good brain workout exercise which can improve mental sharpness and memory, decrease depression level and boost brain activities. When listening to favorite songs, memories can be recalled, bring back events in the past. Good memories with joys and happiness can create positive emotions. But what if the melody and lyrics are little sad? It’s still fine. Some elderly love to rewind their youth with sweet and sour, they’re all great way to keep brain agile. With this brain activity, brain’s memory maker – a media prefrontal cortex, is stimulated. This is the reason why music is suggested as a therapy for dementia and Alzheimer patients. Those who suffer from memory lost diseases or even have very little recollection of past memories show positive response to personalized music in the treatment process.
Better Social Skills
Music connects and brings people together, regardless of ages, generation, genders or races. Therefore, if you feel a little bit distant from your seniors, play some music! Elders are easily feel they are left out or being a social burden and get depression from that mindset. Music groups or dancing groups will make seniors feel as though they are a part of a social group, encourage belonging feeling and make elders less suffer from loneliness. Also, these musical groups can strengthen the bond between seniors, let them make friends while creating music through singing, dancing, playing instruments or just simply listening to an old popular song.
Social skills for elders are one of important step in senior care even the results can be divergent sometimes. However, by aligning older adults with music, their daily routine can be more colorful, many activities can be simulated, open chances for our seniors find their owned joy and happiness, not mention the benefits in physical, emotional and cognitive health.
How To Bring Music Into Your Beloved Seniors
As the deniable benefits of music to elders, trying to add musical elements to your beloved ones’ lives is recommended. With high technology and convenience of Internet, it is easier than ever to make such effort. Just by one click, you can find any song you want and play it on various devices including mobile phone. All you got to do is bringing up music soul in your parents/grandparents. Here are some suggestions:
- Identify seniors’ favorite music genres and songs. Creating a specified playlist for them then. With the internet, any song from any era can be found, so all you have to know is song title!
- Once you found out your parents/grandparents’ music taste, do not just play their favorite songs over and over again on speakers. Take your loved one to live concerts or café/pub that has live music. The atmosphere and energy as well will enhance elders’ mood, making them feel more connect with social life than just staying home listen to music.
- Encourage your loved one to participate in music group for seniors or learn and play an instrument they are interested in. Studies show that hobbies can increase self-confidence and positive emotions. Learning also good activity for brain, reducing dementia and Alzheimer risk. Playing music also help in slowing down heart race and lowering blood pressure.
- Organize many events including music activities such as dancing, game, and singing along… if possible to your old adults, family dinners or small tea party inviting other elders in the neighborhood for example. The activities will be wonderful opportunities to socialize and make friends for your seniors.
- Introduce them to Youtube. Not only will they actively engage in music activities by finding a forgotten/favorite songs on Youtube, but they can watch music performances or songs in their time as well.
Besides the great benefits of music in elders’ lives and heath, one important thing you should bear in mind that your effort, love and caring are the best medicine for your beloved after all.