The power of music is something we’re all aware of, as it has played a vital part in most of our lives from a young age. We’ve danced to it, cried with it, celebrated key life events surrounded by it, and had it as a source of comfort during the hard times. And yet, many of us still think of it as just a source of entertainment – but it’s so much more.
Even those of us with a confirmed love of music probably underestimate both its importance and potential for improving our lives. Not only does this remain the case as we get older but it actually may even become more vital to our health and happiness in those later years
Seven magnificently positive impacts music can have on the elderly
When we considered all the ways in which music can be utilised to improve the lives of our residents, we realised we’d have to break things down in order to really highlight the benefits. With that in mind, here’s seven musical advantages we consider to be immensely important:
1. Creates a positive environment
Before we get into the more surprising impacts music can have, we’ll start with the obvious. Music helps create an atmosphere. This means that even when it’s not the focus, the right sounds can help elevate everything else around it. This is a huge reason why it’s such an important part of our activities and day-to-day life at Melrose.
2. Can help with depression and dementia
We said that music is more than entertainment, and this is a perfect example. There’s good evidence to suggest that music can have a measurable positive impact on those suffering from depression.
There are also suggestions that it may be able to help with memory, with evidence showing that music “lights up” parts of the brain which may be otherwise hard to reach. It’s suggested that only 5% of people with significant memory problems have access to art and music, meaning there’s so many who could benefit from a more musical life.
3. Helps us connect and communicate
Not only does a shared love of music provide a great way for people to connect, but it may actually help us have those conversations in the first place. That’s because some studies have suggested music can actually improve fluency.
4. Reduces feelings of isolation
The impact of loneliness on the elderly is massive, with hundreds of thousands of older people suffering from it. It’s suggested by some studies that music may be used to help with loneliness, alongside creating common bonds and connections. It could prove to be a vital tool for fighting an extremely serious issue.
5. Can motivate and stimulate
Different kinds of music can provide us with a sense of structure throughout our daily activities. For instance, when we want to feel motivated or excited, we might listen to something up tempo to get the blood pumping. This can also provide encouragement to exercise.
Exercise for the elderly is immensely important for physical and mental health – and the magic of music can help us get moving.
6. Helps us wind down
Of course, different forms of music have different effects. Just as music can help get us in the mood for dancing and movement, it can also help us wind down.
People of all ages can have trouble sleeping, and the health impact on older adults can be significant. Thankfully, music can help us here too. Studies have shown that listening to certain kinds of music, such as relaxing instrumental pieces, before bed can have an impact on the duration and quality of sleep.
7. It’s a symbol of our individuality
At Melrose, we always want to encourage our residents to assert their individuality as robustly and in as many ways as possible. Music is a key part of a person’s identity, and even just listening to certain songs can help people feel more at home.
The importance of tailoring musical activities to the individual
The above list is a prime example of why we take fun so seriously here at Melrose.
But how do we make sure our residents get the most of these benefits, and more?