Music for elderly adults can be more than just an enjoyable activity; it can be life-changing. These days, music is more readily available than ever before. For those who carry smartphones or tablets with them wherever they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are just a few taps or finger swipes away. If you’re a caregiver for a senior, your smartphone may just be one of the most practical tools in your possession to help tap into the benefits of music. This popular video clip from the Alive Inside documentary shows just how incredibly effective music can be for older adults with limited abilities and dementia.
Many Ways to Access Music
With extensive musical libraries accessible from like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and other sources, we can now instantly listen to music, often at no charge, in a range of styles. Caregivers can discover what sorts of music the older adult liked to listen to during his or her lifetime and create playlists based on those interests. This may be specific to a certain period of time, such as Big Band music, or it could be unique to his or her religious beliefs, such as gospel or hymns. The type of music enjoyed throughout one’s life can also relate to the person’s cultural background – such as those who prefer reggae or salsa. The senior may also have enjoyed specific genres of music like jazz, blues, classical, country, etc. Regardless of the musical preference, access to music can have amazing advantages.
Music is Linked to Long-Term Memories
Have you ever listened to a song and it took you back to a particular time in your life? Research has revealed that music is strongly linked to our memories. The human brain is hard-wired to associate music with long-term memories. This is the true even for those with moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of seniors through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life. The staff at Music & Memory train both professional and family caregivers on how to create and use personalized playlists with digital devices to allow seniors to reconnect with the world through memories from music.
Music Connects People to the Present
Research has also shown us that listening to music that is familiar and loved can help reduce anxiety levels and increase focus on the present time, which in turn encourages older adults with dementia to connect with those around them.
At Golden Harmony, the leading providers of companion care in Raleigh, NC and surrounding areas, our mission is always to improve quality of life for the elderly through our specialized dementia home care services and support. And, we go to extra lengths in the little things that can brighten up the days of those we serve – such as through music and other creative activities. Call us today at 919-426-7522 to learn more.