We all have a favourite song, the one we can’t help but tap our feet to, the one that pulls us onto the dance floor or gets us to sing out loud. Music is known for setting a mood.
We all have a favourite song, the one we can’t help but tap our feet to, the one that pulls us onto the dance floor or gets us to sing out loud. Music is known for setting a mood. It can bring tears to our eyes, transport us to another time, inspire us, bring us comfort and fill our hearts with joy.
Music surrounds us, it’s on the radio, television, in retail stores, and if we’re lucky, we get to experience a live performance. According to recent studies, music creates an experience for us, and hosts many health benefits for everyone but especially seniors. There are numerous physical and mental health benefits that come from listening to music or making music.
When we embrace music we are able to restore, maintain and improve our physical health, mental processing and our social-emotional functioning.
According to seniourlivingmag.com, music is becoming more recognized as an alternative or complementary treatment for seniors with various mental conditions such as depression and dementia through music therapy and has many benefits such as:
Promoting cognitive function and mental health
Practicing music-based activities such as listening to music, playing an instrument or singing stimulates certain areas of the brain to increase blood flow. This is known to keep the brain young, active sharp and slows cognitive decline in seniors.
Improves concentration and memory.
Because music involves repetition it helps improve memory but also muscle memory through concentration and information retention.
Improved communication skills.
Music is proven to be beneficial to dementia patients as it slows the decline of speech skills. For those who are nonverbal, it can inspire them to express themselves through humming, singing or moving their hands and feet to the beat. By selecting a song that matches their mood they can express themselves through the music.
Reduction in Depression Symptoms
Research has proven that music can significantly effect the reduction in depression symptoms among seniors. It enhances mood and improves self-esteem.
Reduced stress and anxiety.
Songs with certain themes, lyrics, instruments or rhythms can impact how well you relax. When you listen to music that is calming or relaxing, it can slow down the heart rate and lower cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone).
Builds and strengthens social connections.
Music can be enjoyed solo or in groups. When its enjoyed in groups, it creates social interactions that foster connections among seniors. Music brings people together, creating memorable experiences, sparks conversations and alleviates feelings of isolation and loneliness.
There are a few simple ways you can incorporate music into your life to improve your overall wellbeing today:
1. Select music that is calming to you. This will induce relaxation, slow your heart rate lower your blood pressure and reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels in your body. Start off by taking a few deep breaths, get comfortable and enjoy.
2. Put on your favourite song. There is a direct link between music and moods, which causes a dopamine response that helps fend off depression. Playing your favourite song or playlist that makes you feel good and uplifted. Sing along, tap your feet or dance.
3. Match your mood to music. Music is very therapeutic. It can aid in the healing process of heartache and grief. It can bring us comfort and console us when we listen to the lyrics that validate our emotions.
4. Be aware of how music makes you feel. Music is often used in mindfulness practices. By paying attention to the emotions and the affect on your body, it grounds you in the moment and keeps you present.
5. Create a Playlist for your Exercise. Having the right song to help you push through your exercise when you feel like you’d rather be watching TV or socializing with a friend makes all the difference. Pick music that is upbeat to give you a boost of energy and fuel your motivation, so you maximize your performance.
6. Fall asleep to music. Listening to relaxing music before bed or as you are falling asleep can calm the nervous system, slow your breathing and lower your heart rate. There are many useful apps available with music to help ease you to sleep.
What are you waiting for? Start today and experience the many benefits music has to offer.
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