Move to the Music: How Music Can Support Mental Health in Aging
Music can be a very powerful tool that conjures up a lot of memories. Long after you’ve forgotten the details of an event, hearing a familiar song can bring you right back. Lyrics stick in your mind longer than facts and figures, and you may find yourself singing along to a song you haven’t heard in years. Music can play a beneficial role in boosting mood and supporting aging.
Mental stimulation. You don’t have to be a professionally trained musician to benefit from playing music. Sitting down and plucking the strings on a guitar or tapping the keys on a piano can be a wonderful mental workout. Reading music and bringing the song to life can help keep your brain sharp. It also promotes focus and awareness.
Mood booster. Just listening to songs on the radio or a record can turn your day around. Find peppy, uplifting songs to promote positive feelings. Choose songs you can sing along with, and belt them out with confidence. Music can help you feel happier and more energetic.
Calming activity. For seniors with dementia, music can be calming and help alleviate stress and agitation. Playing familiar songs can spark connections with people or places from their past. Try to pick songs that evoke happy memories, or that you can sing along to together.
Movement motivator. Make exercise more fun by turning on music. Dance to the beat, or create a workout routine that fits with the song. Even just having music in the background can be motivating and give seniors something to focus on while working out. Put on a slow song for stretching, balancing, and warming up or cooling down. Pick something more upbeat when lifting weights, doing cardio, dancing, or other more intense activities.
Conversation starter. Talking about music can be a wonderful way to connect with others and combat loneliness. Discuss favorite artists, bands, or songs. Reminisce about concerts, stage performances, or other shows you’ve seen. There are so many possibilities when it comes to discussing music that can bring people together.
Music is intertwined throughout many aspects of people’s lives, young and old alike. Use music as a way to inspire communication, elicit positive memories, incorporate movement, and simply spend time together. Make plans to attend a concert or performance, or hold one in your own home. Create a playlist of songs your aging parent enjoys and listen to it together, singing and dancing along with the music.
It can also be a great way to form bonds with an in-home caregiver. Seniors and caregivers can listen to music and engage in thoughtful conversation and reminiscing about old memories. Caregivers can make wonderful companions in addition to providing appropriate levels of support during aging in place. Learn more about senior services by contacting Always Best Care at (855) 470-2273 and scheduling a free consultation.