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June 28, 2024

Boost Your Mood With Music Therapy for Seniors

Music has always been a source of entertainment, but it’s also an easy way to relax, reconnect with your past, and boost your spirits. In fact, music therapy for seniors has been proven to release feel-good hormones that can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and even help with focus and concentration. Furthermore, playing or creating music is an excellent way to express yourself and connect with others in a meaningful way.

But you don’t need to take a class or schedule time with a counselor to reap the many benefits of music therapy for seniors. All you need is a way to play music (even a smartphone or a simple speaker will do). You might be surprised by how quickly a particular song can add harmony to your daily routine.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Music for Seniors

Many studies have explored ways that music therapy can improve seniors’ lives. One 2022 study on music therapy for seniors found that it helped produce an increase in creativity and social interaction. Researchers concluded that music therapy can also potentially improve overall health in older adults and alleviate certain chronic conditions like depression.

In a research paper titled “Music Is Like a Family Member Sitting Next to You“, the authors confirmed previous studies by detailing several ways music can benefit seniors:

  • Listening to music passively or receptively influences the autonomic nervous system in a way that enhances health.
  • Music can reduce attention to upsetting stimuli or environments and induce a state of relaxation, thereby improving well-being.
  • Music can affect emotion and memory on the neurobiological level by acting on various components of the limbic system like the hippocampus, which influences memory, or the amygdala, which influences emotional responses.

4 Easy Ways to Integrate Music Therapy Into Your Own Life

Music has the power to put you in a good mood. As we get older, the practicalities of real life can get in the way of the simple joy of listening to music. Maybe you had kids — and found your classic rock being replaced with their music. Or maybe you had to use your free time to catch up on the news. 

If that rings true for you, consider bringing music back into your life. Here are four easy ways to do exactly that.

Bring It Home

Think back to some of the best concerts or performances you’ve seen either live or on television. Recreate some of those experiences in your own home by downloading or streaming them. You may even be able to find the exact event you’re thinking of by searching YouTube. Anyone who caught Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing “Islands in the Stream” at the Country Music Association Awards in 1983, for example, can enjoy it all over again right here

Even if concerts weren’t your thing, music probably impacted your life in other ways. Maybe you enjoyed dancing or long drives listening to a particular soundtrack. Play that music and conjure up the same feelings those activities evoked.

Time Travel

Simply hearing a particular tune can bring you right back to a cherished memory. Popular music from your past can evoke a particular period of your life and help you reminisce about the good old days.

Can’t remember what music was playing at your senior prom? Check out Billboard’s list of the top songs from 1958 on. “To Sir With Love” by Lulu, for example, isn’t a song that’s widely known today, but if you graduated from high school in 1967, give it a listen and see where the tune takes you. 

Set the Mood

Music has the power to affect our emotions, and it can be used as a tool to help us relax or energize ourselves. Listening to familiar songs can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity while listening to calming music can help reduce agitation and promote relaxation.

Uplifting music can also help boost our spirits when we’re feeling down. Pop quiz: What’s the happiest song? According to one super fun study done in 2023, it’s “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys. Other chart toppers for mood include “I Got You” (I Feel Good) by James Brown, “House of Fun” by Madness, and “Get the Party Started” by P!nk.

Create Your Own Music

If your love of playing music still rings true, pull that instrument out of the attic or rent, borrow, or buy a new one and get back into it. Don’t worry about being perfect; just enjoy the experience of reconnecting with an old passion.

Another popular music therapy for seniors is group drumming, which not only provides an opportunity for friends and family members to socialize but also helps stimulate brain function and strengthen memory skills. The exercises involve playing different rhythms while paying attention to the beat of a single drum.

You could even try playing an instrument for the first time by ordering a harmonic or ukulele (both known as being relatively easy to learn) and seeing what you can do. YouTube offers dozens of free videos to help you hone your skills. 

Music and More at Springpoint Living at Manalapan

From therapeutic gardening and guided meditation to creative arts and social gatherings, Springpoint Living at Manalapan offers activities to enrich each day, celebrate shared experiences, and foster friendships. Take a look at what an average day has to offer or, better yet, schedule a visit to see our Manalapan, New Jersey, campus for yourself.

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