Music therapy for seniors can be described as the use of musical and musical elements to maintain and restore mental, physical and emotional health. Considered to be both a disease treatment option as well as a preventative health service, music therapy has proven to be a very effective tool when working with seniors.
How can music therapy benefit seniors?
Music therapy can help seniors retain speech and language skills and can even slow the deterioration of speech and language skills in patients with dementia. In fact, it has been proven to help elders answer questions, speak more clearly and make decisions. Even those seniors receiving care for dementia or Alzheimer’s and have lost their ability to speak, are usually still able to sing favorite songs or hum.
Playing music that a senior enjoys can help them relax, reduce agitation or aggressive behaviors. Using slow songs and lullabies can help prepare for bed and playing soft or relaxing sounds during the least favourite parts of the day can help reduce tensions.
When a senior moves into a nursing or retirement home, they may feel isolated or disconnected from life. Music allows them to reconnect with themselves by unlocking positive memories and emotions.
For people who suffer from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, personalized music from their past can awaken their subconscious memory. In fact, they may be able to sing the music when they hear it. This experience is wonderful for the senior citizen but also for families and caregivers – they briefly see the person they knew that is now lost to a disease.
Music therapy also encourages bonding with others – people can connect and talk about the music they hear, share stories, feelings and learn more about one another.
What can you do to encourage music therapy?
While there are fantastic music and art therapy professionals that can work with your loved ones, there are things that you can do to harness the benefits of music:
- Get your loved one what they need to enjoy music. Do they have comfortable headphones to use and a system that can play the music they like?
- Make a personalized playlist for your loved one. You will know what music they used to listen to and what musical events may have been significant for them and could trigger happy memories.
- If they used to play an instrument, ask them to play again if they can. Get them an instrument if they no longer have one. If you play an instrument or like to sing, do so together.
- Organize a social event around music. Talk to your community centre or your loved one’s care facility – there has been an increase in senior citizen proms popping up across North America!
If you are looking for a home healthcare agency in Burlington, Mississauga, or Oakville, contact us to book an assessment and talk about the needs of those you care for. Our services include art therapy as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia support at home. At iCare Home Health, we are passionate about caring for the elderly and those in need. We would be pleased to work with you find the best care for your loved one.