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How Music Therapy Helps Seniors

senior couple laughing while playing guitar

The great thing about music is that it is not only for relaxation. It is something that can also be used as a therapy. There are a lot of benefits that you will be able to get when you listen to music. When you finally decide to take music lessons, you will certainly enjoy other improvements in the cognitive and emotional aspects.

What is music therapy?
Music therapy is a musical intervention that improves a person's quality of life. It is founded on the notion that singing or playing musical instruments is important in improving motor skills and making a person feel more confident. This evidence-based approach can be used to enhance your emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health.

Individual treatment is done making use of this therapy. It also includes different activities such as relaxation and orientation work for the older individuals. It can help not only in improving people's wellbeing, but also in treating disabilities, injuries, and illnesses.

Types of music therapy:
There are two types of music therapy that engage a patient in different ways based on their needs:

  • Receptive Music Therapy
    In this type of music therapy, the patient is asked to listen to a recording or to live music. The music involved here is chosen by the therapist. This type of therapy is known to help in coping. It can help in lessening stress and pain, improving the mood, and making the person feel more relaxed. It is also great in dealing with anxiety.

  •  Active Music Therapy
    This is the type of music therapy that involves music lessons. With the therapist acting as teacher, the patient is asked to sing, play instruments, or make music. These activities are perfect for seniors, because they can help them overcome emotional and physical difficulties that come with age.

Benefits of music therapy for seniors:
Music is good for everyone and it is especially advantageous for older individuals. Here are the different benefits of music therapy for seniors:

  • Reduce stress
    Stress is a normal part of everyday life and all people experience this. However, older adults are prone to more stress and tension due to physical and environmental changes. When seniors listen to music, it can help in lessening the stress and anxiety they are feeling. It can be very helpful in reducing the stress hormone cortisol and in normalizing the heart rate. With music therapy, the therapist knows how to determine the music appropriate for the specific situation.

  • Music can inspire movement
    Music therapy supports a healthy lifestyle and is perfect for encouraging seniors to move. With music, they can dance, clap, or tap their toes. One of the main points of music therapy is to encourage seniors to participate. With the use of different musical instruments such as drums, this purpose of music therapy can be achieved.

  • Increase social interaction
    It is not a secret that music can help bring people together. There are some programs under music therapy that aims to increase the communication among the people in a certain group. This is one of the best ways to help older people connect with their peers around them. In the process, they are encouraged to make new friends and be more social. This is very important for mental health among older adults.

  • Improves verbal communication skills
    There are moments when communicating can difficult. This is where music comes in. Older adults who are having a hard time expressing themselves will be guided through the help of music. With different activities such as singing and picking songs that represent them, they are slowly being guided. In this type of program, they will be guided on how to speak their minds and how to communicate in a free and simple manner.

  • Helps balance mood and emotional state
    Some older adults can be prone to anxiety. This may affect their mood and their actions for the whole day. This is also the reason why music must be considered as an important part of their daily lives. There are types of music that are soothing and relaxing. By integrating this type of music as backgrounds for daily activities, they will feel calmer. It can provide them with the sense of relaxation and ease.

  • Manage physical pain and discomfort
    One of the most common uses of music therapy is to deal with physical pain and discomfort. For older people, some physical conditions are inevitable. Music therapy can help. There are different ways music can help in managing physical pain and discomfort. One of the most common is to distract the patient from what he or she is feeling. It can provide comfort after an operation and it can also boost the emotional condition of the person.

  • Improve memory
    Memory loss is one of the consequences of dementia. This is something that is common among older adults. With specific programs of music therapy, they will be able to enhance their memory. One of the activities that can be done here is to learn music. Learning to play a musical instrument involves the hand, brain and eye coordination. This is one way to enhance the cognitive aspect.

Music lessons are not only for children. Music is a life-long benefit that can be taught to adults of any age. The benefits are not only focused on the physical aspect, but also on the mind and emotion. Indeed, music is one of the best elements to help you deal with uncertainties in life.

Written By

Curtis Dean

Curtis Dean writes on behalf of Sage Music School where they base lessons on the science and research of the psychology of learning. Their effective teaching methods create confident and capable students who enjoy the happiness of making music.

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