Music is an integral part of our everyday lives. Studies have shown that music can benefit seniors when it is used to improve their health, enhance their moods, and even improve their memory. Here at Ocean Hills Senior Living in Oceanside, CA, we use music in a variety of ways to take advantage of the benefits music has. Here are some of the ways that music can be beneficial in our lives.

Psychological benefits of music

seniors listening to music

Seniors who listen to music often have a happier outlook on life and have been shown to have better social interactions. Music can enhance moods, improve interest levels, and increase positive emotions.

For those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, music has been shown to increase their interactions with others as a song may trigger a memory for them from when they were younger. Music has also been shown to help speed up healing and speech in patients who have suffered a stroke.

Memory benefits

Studies have shown that when a person listens to music that corresponds with significant time, place, event or emotion for a listener, the brain’s memory maker (also known as the medial prefrontal cortex) becomes stimulated.

Music therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients has been proven to help stimulate this type of brain activity. Even patients who have lost the ability to speak have been known to still hum along with songs.

For seniors who can play an instrument, it has been shown that continuing to play can help to slow down or even reverse the decline of brain processing, memory, and inner hearing loss. And its never too late to begin learning an instrument as also the process of trying to learn something new will stimulate brain function.

Stress Reduction

seniors dancing to music

Music can benefit seniors by helping them settle down when they become stressed and agitated. It has been shown to increase relaxation and self-esteem while reducing tension and anxiety. If your loved one is agitated, play a personally meaningful song for them from when they were growing up. Soothing music, jazz, or even barbershop can help with a senior who is agitated.

Health benefits

  • Music encourages physicality – Ever found yourself tapping your foot along to a song, or nodding your head, swaying your body, or even dancing. Many senior and assisted living communities in having movement-based classes where music is used to help people get up and get moving.
  • It’s heart-healthy – Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played. It can reduce heart rates, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, and increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood.
  • Music helps with pain – By reducing stress levels and providing a robust competing stimulus to the pain signals, music therapy can be a great benefit to those in pain management therapy. Music can benefit seniors by meaningfully reducing the perceived intensity of the pain, especially for seniors or those in intensive or palliative care.

Music brings us together

seniors dancing to music

A shared love of a song brings us together. Live music or singing allows us to bond and connects with others. It inspires us to dance, feel, and relax. The assisted living community near you, like Ocean Hills Senior Living in Oceanside, CA, take advantage of these benefits by hosting many different types of music nights where seniors can gather to hear, or perhaps even perform music.

They can take advantage of the opportunity to gather with others and hear old favorites, or maybe also find a new favorite song, group, or style of music.

Music plays a vital role in our lives, and studies are still being done that show new benefits to one of the oldest art forms there is. It can be something as simple as making you smile, or helping you to remember something you had long thought forgotten, to helping someone to recover from the effects of a stroke.

Music can connect us with others in the present, and help us connect with our past. It can help us to stay healthy, or help us to gain back some health. If you can play, it can have even more benefits. If you never learned to play but are still physically able, take up some lessons.

Many assisted living communities to have a piano available for residents to play. Take advantage of the many benefits of music, and it will help you live a fuller, happier, more connected life.