What is Music Therapy and 5 Ways it Benefits Seniors

You don’t have to be a professional musician to experience the pleasure of hearing your favorite song. Music has the power to transport us back in time, evoking memories and feelings from our past. Hearing a song you enjoy can provide comfort and cheer during difficult times and turn a bad mood around almost instantaneously.

The majority of adults aged 65 to 85 are known to have at least one chronic ailment, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or arthritis. A number of age-related changes in physical, mental, and emotional well-being can occur in the aging population. This is why music therapy may be so beneficial for seniors and their caregivers.

What is Music Therapy? 

Under the direction of a qualified music therapist, music therapy combines clinical and research-proven musical therapies to assist people in reaching their individual goals. Music therapy is classified into two types: active and receptive. Anyone can participate because the musical ability is not required.

  • Active Music Therapy:   You are actively participating in this type of therapy. It usually consists of simple instruments, dancing, or singing. Such action promotes physical stimulation, which can be beneficial to one’s physical health.
  • Receptive Music Therapy:  This entails time spent listening to music mindfully, generally with specifically curated recorded or live music. Songs are frequently chosen to reflect a person’s culture, generation, and personal experiences.

Music therapy has even been proven to increase memory, communication, and physical and mental rehabilitation. As a result, music therapy can be especially beneficial for seniors, as it can aid in treating age-related issues such as stress, depression, and chronic pain.

Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy has been shown to aid some seniors in restoring and maintaining their health, as well as in recalling memories and combating depression. Music therapy was defined in the Older Americans Act of 1992 as “the use of musical or rhythmic interventions specifically selected by a music therapist to accomplish the restoration, maintenance, or improvement of an older individual’s social or emotional functioning, mental processing, or physical health.”

Music therapy for seniors can help with issues such as:

Speech Skills: Music therapy has been shown to assist older persons in answering questions, making decisions, and speaking clearly. It can also slow the deterioration of dementia patients’ speech and language skills; studies have shown that even after an Alzheimer’s patient loses the capacity to talk, they can still recognize and even hum or sing their favorite song.

Cognitive Skills: Music can assist seniors to process their ideas and remember things. Many individuals identify music with past events, and hearing a song can bring up memories even years later. Music from the patient’s youth or early adult years has been shown to elicit a positive response and involvement in dementia patients, even when the patient is unable to communicate.

Social Skills: Another advantage that music therapy can provide seniors is increased social engagement with caregivers and others. It promotes interaction, which can help ease feelings of loneliness and sadness.

Physical Skills: Seniors can be motivated to move by music. After all, music inspires dancing. Music and dance aid with coordination and can improve walking and endurance. Even if your loved one is unable to walk, music can stimulate toe tapping and clapping, which gets the blood flowing.

Stress Reduction: Some caregivers struggle to manage their older loved one’s stress and irritation. Playing music they like can help them relax and reduce their aggressive behavior. Slow tunes, such as ballads and lullabies, might help your loved one prepare for bed or cope with changes in their routine that may cause stress.

How Caregivers Can Help With Music Therapy? 

Music has the power to elicit pleasant moments, improve one’s mood, and reduce anxiety and depression. Although in-home caregivers are not qualified music therapists, they can assist your loved one in reaping the full advantages of music therapy at home.

In-home caregivers can help your loved one listen to and appreciate music in the comfort of their own home. They can follow the advice of a certified music therapist, playing the appropriate music at a suitable volume for the appropriate amount of time. They can also get your older loved one to exercise, dance, sing, and enjoy themselves.

Maintaining the brain’s function is important to the general health and well-being of seniors at home. Consider incorporating music therapy into your loved one’s treatment plan, and allow them to enjoy its melodic benefits. 

If you live in Maryland or DC and are looking for compassionate home care services for yourself or a loved one, please contact Thrive USA Home Care now at (301) 882-4717.

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