For many people, music is a daily part of life. Whether you listen to music while you work or cook, listen to the radio in your car or sing bedtime songs to your children, music is a universal thing that draws people together and brings up fond memories. Specific songs and styles of music set the background for memories regarding various times of our lives.
Music has also been shown to relax individuals undergoing medical treatments, those recovering from illnesses or injuries or those who simply need to lower their blood pressure. Residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities benefit when there are musical events such as sing-alongs or when holiday songs are sung together. Playing music in the assisted living common rooms is thought to help the residents connect and relax, but music therapists use the music to encourage “emotional expression, promote social interact, relieve pain symptoms, and other treatment goals.” The type of music therapy is determined by the individual patient’s needs.
Here are some of the benefits found with music therapy.
- Music therapy can help seniors reconnect and may stir memories of times past. Singing a song may prompt the residents to chime in and help stimulate their memory as well.
- Music therapy is a way for individuals to reach out and stay connected even if they are no longer mobile. It is a way to help them express themselves and provides an opportunity for creative expression and inclusion.
- Music can reduce stress.
- Surgical patients who listen to music have lower heart rates and lower blood pressure levels.
- The rhythms in music can help to retrain the brain following a stroke.
- Music helps those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s by helping them to recall moments from their past.
- Music lifts your mood.
- Music can help you connect with aging loved one in ways in which you hadn’t been able to without the assistance of the shared love of song. Imagine being able to reach your aging parent by simply playing the song they danced to at their wedding.
Playing music can help keep our minds engaged and who knows, if you’re with an older adult, you may just find them dancing around the kitchen as they “move to the groove”!
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