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How Music Therapy Can Benefit the Elderly

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Music has been used over time for many different things: to express love and affection, prepare an army for war, tell a story, and more. Now more than ever, doctors are finding there are healing powers associated with people listening to certain tunes or melodies. These tunes and melodies can evoke positive emotions within the listener.

 

  1. Relaxing the mind

As we age, "feel-good" brain chemicals such as melatonin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine naturally begin to decrease in production. This can cause seniors to feel more frustrated, stressed, and tired. However, if a song that the person enjoys begins to play, the chemicals begin to rise in production. It can evoke a sense of happiness and instantly the brain begins to produce more serotonin, helping a person feel less stressed and happier.   

 

  1. Bringing Back Memories

There are things that we will never forget in our lifetime. This even holds true for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients (although memory may be distorted). For some, the words or tunes to a song never go away. Typically, if they used to sing, they will still be able to sing a few songs they remember (or at least try). Our brains are wired to associate memory with senses. For example, the smell of cotton candy or a fairground jingle may bring about childhood memories of attending a carnival with the family. Music is a powerful tool, it can open a door into the past or reignite memories once thought lost.

 

  1. Keeping the Mind Active

Picking up an instrument no matter the age has so many great benefits. Playing music forces the body to use muscle memory and activates the mind in a non-threatening or non-straining way. It is also an open form of expression that can calm a person down or allow them to express their inner feelings. But, most of all, remembering the lyrics or musical notes to a song can help one keep their mind active. 

 

The Conservatory Senior Living is always looking for innovative therapy for our residents. Whether our residents are getting physical therapy, medicine regulation, or alternative therapies like music therapy, our Dimensions Wellness program is always there to help them peak in their mental, physical, and social health.

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