The Joyous Benefits of Music For Elders By : Karen Everett Watson
Can you even imagine a world without music? How many timeshave you been in a bad mood and turned on the radio playing a songthat changed your whole perspective?
• Music can be better than meds and only has positive side effects!• Experts are finding that music for elders and especially for those with dementia have a wide range of benefits including pain reduction and better sleep patterns.• But that’s only the beginning to the benefits of music for older adults.
Music bonds us with our cohorts• Listening to the music of our youth is much like attending a really good class reunion.• We relate to each other through our shared experiences and through the music we loved when we were young.• When a group of elders listens to an old song, they’re transported to their youth and recognize each other as having similar life experiences.• I facilitate reminiscence sessions with elders in assisted living.• When I put on a CD of old songs, their faces light up and they just love to sing along.
• When a group of elders listens to an old song, they’re transported to their youth and recognize each other as having similar life experiences.• I facilitate reminiscence sessions with elders in assisted living.• When I put on a CD of old songs, their faces light up and they just love to sing along. They know all the words and never miss a beat.• Research has shown that music therapy can reduce stress in dementia patients.• The past is a safe place for those with dementia and the music of their youth helps them relive a time when they were strong and vital.• It also helps them with communication skills and reduces disruptive behavior.• Group music sessions are also an opportunity for elders to interact socially. But music in the home setting is also very beneficial.
Finding the Right Music• Do you want to know which songs and music will make your loved one happy? Just ask them.• What were their favorites when they were younger?• Patriotic songs and songs of faith are usually a favorite but music taste is very personal.
• You can find a numbers of websites that have the old tunes.• One website I’ve used for buying CD’s is www.eldersong.com.• You can also find great music for elders on the radio.• My mother loves her satellite radio which has stations devoted to the older genre of music.• My father prefers western music such as “Gunfighter Ballads” by Marty Robbins or anything by Jim Reeves.
Family Sing Alongs• Getting the whole family singing together is a wonderful way to enjoy music.• One of my favorite memories is riding to church with my kids and my parents – singing praise songs the whole way there.• My children (now grown) also grew up listening to my parents’ music.• All three love the “Gunfighter Ballads” and enjoy hearing the stories my parents tell of going to local dances and the now famous bands that played for them.• Johnny Cash was one of the singers they got to hear! I very pleased they were exposed to songs of yesterday and the great singers who made them famous.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving• Long after the music has stopped, the benefits keep on giving.• When I’ve listened to a favorite tune, I find myself humming it hours afterwards.• It’s the same for older adults. Experts say that there are lasting benefits such as improved cognition, less anxiety and stress release, all from just listening to music.• So spread some joy today and encourage your elders to enjoy their favorite music!
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