Updated: Jan 18
By Karen Weeks
Image courtesy of Pexels
According to a study on the neural, emotional, and cognitive benefits of music in late adulthood, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, and listening to music are all advantageous to our health and well-being as we grow older. Not only does music support cognitive and emotional health in seniors, but it can also help to ease pain, anxiety, and depression.
American Roots songwriter Grant Maloy Smith appreciates seniors, as expressed in his song “I See You,” the official theme song for Masterpiece Living. People of all ages can benefit from music, but given the special perks seniors can enjoy, explore the following information.
Bringing Music to Seniors
No matter their age, there are a great many things seniors can do to incorporate music into their lives and experience these incredible health benefits. Through Skillshare, for example, seniors can take music lessons online, out of their homes, or in a safe public setting. Many types of music lessons are offered, such as piano, singing, songwriting, guitar, music theory, and so much more. Other music learning opportunities are available through websites like Udemy, Lessonface, and YouTube.
The only possible hitch is if your senior doesn’t have a device capable of streaming music and video smoothly. If it’s time for an upgrade, your first step is to decide what type of computer to get. For the sake of convenience, seniors are getting away from desktops, but it can be hard to choose between tablets and laptops. Generally speaking, Graying With Grace recommends tablets for the portability and ease of use they provide, but you should talk with your loved one and explore your options.
Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay
Since there are so many options nowadays, it can get confusing quickly. One way around this is to get some expert advice, such as through Best Buy’s free consultation service. They also have free delivery on most items, a price match guarantee, and you can use a Best Buy coupon to stretch your dollars. Whatever you decide, be sure to do your research so you get the best product at the lowest price.
With the right electronics, seniors can enjoy:
Listening to music while exercising, cleaning the house, getting ready for the day, and cooking meals.
Playing music while socializing with friends and family.
Hosting karaoke nights and sing-alongs with friends and family.
Learning a new dance routine each week.
Writing original songs or rewriting the lyrics to favorite songs.
Joining a local choir.
Attending live-streamed or in-person concerts and plays.
Teaching music to students, whether online or out of their homes.
Making musical playlists that evoke memories from the past.
There are several cognitive benefits of musical activities, especially as we grow older and our risk of age-related memory loss increases. By incorporating one or more musical activities into our daily lives, we experience the following types of benefits:
Enhanced cognitive, neural, and emotional functioning
Reduced risk of dementia
Rehabilitation from common stroke-related deficits
Relief from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and mild cognitive impairment
Whether seniors receive formal music therapy after a neurological illness or they dance, sing, play an instrument or even just listen to music as a preventative measure in their Golden Years, they’ll be protecting their brains from further age-related decline.
Music is incredibly healing, and those who incorporate music into their daily lives will experience a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Music can help to alleviate arthritis pain, ease discomfort during medical procedures, and reduce some side effects of cancer treatments. Per Harvard Health Publishing, patients who listen to music before and after surgical procedures experience less anxiety and a reduced need for sedatives and opioid pain medications.
When seniors listen to music, play an instrument, dance, or sing, they’re also supporting their emotional well-being, boosting their self-esteem, and improving their quality of life. Plus, music can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness — making it a low-risk treatment option for seniors experiencing emotional and mental issues.
As you can see, there are so many great ways seniors can incorporate music into their everyday routines. Whether they listen to music while getting ready in the morning or before heading to bed or learn how to play a new instrument, write and sing songs, or explore a new style of dance, seniors will reap the cognitive and physical benefits of music for healthier and happier aging.
Connect with recording artist and songwriter Grant Maloy Smith for more meaningful information, inspiration and music.