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July 25, 2022

How Can Music Therapy Benefit the Elderly?

Music therapy for seniors

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy has many benefits for everyone, regardless of age. Music therapy is identified as the clinical, evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish goals within a therapeutic relationship.

Active Music Therapy

There are two different types of music therapy, active and receptive. In active music therapy, the listener is actively in tune with the music. This includes practices that include singing, dancing, or playing instruments. All these practices involve some form of physical movement, which is associated with improving overall physical health.

Receptive Music Therapy

Receptive music therapy involves what’s called mindful music listening. Mindfulness is “the practice of living in the present moment,” when adding music to mindfulness practices the music can help to stay in tune with both the body and the mind. Mindfully listening to music can transport the listener to a past memory or a present situation. Sitting down and listening to music can help the listener stay in the moment.

Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors

There are a ton of benefits for seniors that using music therapy can unlock. Studies have shown that music can help with both mental and physical rehabilitation, especially for older adults. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Decreasing anxiety and depression. At least 20% of people aged 55 years and above in the United States suffer from some type of mental health disorder. Music therapy can reduce both adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones responsible for stress in the body, which in turn reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Emotional support. Music also offers positive emotional support, which has been linked to decreasing both mental fatigue and depression by stimulating the limbic system, the center of the brain’s emotional response.
  • Unlock memories. Listening to music also helps to retrieve forgotten memories and enhance the ability to retain new ones.
  • Therapeutic effects. Music therapy may also serve as a therapeutic tool, allowing the body and the mind a chance to process trauma, grief, and other powerful emotions, as well as increasing self-esteem by activating the brain’s pleasure center, the nucleus accumbens.

Music Therapy for Elderly with Dementia

Music therapy for seniors has also been proven to decrease the effects of dementia. The most common symptom that is associated with dementia is short-term memory loss. Short-term memory loss happens when the area of the brain called the hippocampus is damaged.

The hippocampus, which is located in the brain’s temporal lobe, is responsible for helping form new memories. Since music has been linked to the areas of the brain that are responsible for speech, emotion, and memory, it can help to unlock such memories as where the person was the first time they heard the song or who they were with.

Learn more about the early signs of dementia

As loved ones get older, it can be tough to make decisions about their well-being. For some, a nursing or retirement home is the way to go. Then, there are others who would benefit more from home care individuals or companies.

Some of these places or individuals will offer services similar to music therapy, including listening to music together, creating curated playlists for clients, and talking about memories connected to music.

If you’re looking for home care in Lafayette, LA, then Home Instead Senior Care is the company to go for you and your aging loved ones. Home Instead offers a variety of services by our care professionals that come right to your door, including personal care, companionship, transportation, chronic illness care, hospice support, and memory care.

Let us help you choose the best, personalized home care plan for you or your beloved family member. For more information on home care in Lafayette, LA, and surrounding areas, or to get a free no-obligation Care Consultation, give us a call at (337) 282-2350.