Music can be powerful. Listening to music and/or having sing-alongs with seniors can trigger thoughts and memories that can help them heal. Often, seniors who struggle with dementia or other cognitive disorders have a very difficult time trying to find the words they want to use, or they may know the words but can’t remember how to use it in context. Music has a way of helping seniors in this category by triggering memories or recalling how certain words are used in context. They may hear a certain song and want to dance, even! Naturally, physical movement is important for overall health, so let them dance the night away!
Overall, music can play a vital role in helping seniors cope with loss and other stressors. Memory loss can be the most frustrating parts of facing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, but music allows seniors to recognize a song and remember just where they were when they first heard it. Or, they may hear a song and instantly be drawn back to a certain event, such as their wedding or the birth of a child, etc.
Here are just a few of the many benefits that come from incorporating music therapy into the life of seniors:
- Reduces depression among older adults
- Music experiences can be structured to enhance social/emotional skills, to assist in recall and language skills and to decrease problem behaviors
- Music tasks can be used to assess cognitive ability with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Music is effective in decreasing frequency of agitated and aggressive behaviors for individuals diagnosed with various types of dementias
- Individuals in the late stages of dementia respond to and interact with music