When you think back to your best years, chances are good that a song comes to mind. Music is a universal language that speaks to us, no matter where we are in life. And for seniors, it is a powerful tool to help them maintain and, in some cases, regain memories they’ve lost.
Please enjoy this post on how seniors can benefit from the power of music, presented by Texan musician Ezra Vancil.
According to SeniorLIFE, music is powerful medicine. It can ease depression and even reduce stress without drugs. For the older generation, music stimulates memories that evoke emotions. This is crucial for those in the early to mid-stages of dementia as it can help rebuild a person’s cognitive responses, which often occurs as an older adult declines with age.
How To Add Music To Your Senior’s Life
Listening to music is perhaps one of the best ways to trigger memories and emotional responses in seniors. Something you can do to encourage listening is to put together a playlist of music that your seniors enjoyed the most in their younger days, and as Caring Senior Service points out, even seniors with dementia are often comfortable using devices like Alexa for entertainment.
For those who wish to be a little more hands-on with their musical experience, online music classes are an excellent option. A weekly lesson can help your seniors learn anything from the keyboard to the guitar from the safe and socially-distanced comfort of their own home.
Older computers and smartphones aren’t always capable of data-heavy tasks like streaming, so if your senior doesn’t have an appropriate device, put some thought into what you purchase. GreatSeniorLiving points out older adults are moving towards tablets for the lightweight convenience they provide, but desktops are still a more popular choice. Those who prefer a keyboard but like the portability of a tablet might like a laptop as a compromise, although you can always add a keyboard and stand to the package.
Computers can be made more affordable with a little research. For instance, Best Buy has sales all the time, they have a price match guarantee, and if you and/or your senior is unsure what will be best, they offer a free consultation service. Top it all off with a Best Buy coupon, and you can really stretch your budget while feeling confident in your decision.
Keep in mind that you must take steps to keep your seniors' digital world safe, especially if they are not accustomed to using the internet for their interactions. Plan to invest in protective measures, such as antivirus software, with features pertinent to your loved one’s device, which you can find out more about by reading reviews online.
Something else that can be beneficial for seniors that involves music is playing homemade instruments with their grandchildren. This is an excellent opportunity to bond while helping them learn to appreciate music from eras gone by. Once the pandemic is over, you may even consider taking your parent or grandparent to a live concert. Many areas continue to offer outdoor music venues where you can steer clear of crowds while still enjoying the experience.
Another great idea to introduce or reintroduce music into your loved one’s life is to watch music-focused movies together. The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, and Brigadoon are all excellent musicals that your senior is almost certain to remember, at least in bits and pieces, even if they are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s
In addition to stimulating the mind, music has wonderful benefits for the body. Not only do catchy tunes stick to your brain, but they also tell your brain to start tapping your feet. This can lead to more physical activity, whether that’s dancing around or using music as motivation to perform daily activities, such as cleaning or exercising. Music alters the way we perceive time, so it may prolong physical activities, which can otherwise exhaust a person’s energy stores.
Ultimately, music is something that can accompany us throughout our lives. If you are looking to help a senior – or if you are a senior looking to help yourself – stave off the effects of age, nothing beats a great playlist. So turn up the volume, open your mind, and let your feet tap as the tunes help heal your body and mind.
Connect with Ezra Vancil for information, inspiration, music, events and much more.