Benefits Of Music On The Mind And Body Of Older Adults
Compiled by the staff of PureAudacity.com 4-25-2022
The power of music is undeniable. It can make us smile or cry. It motivates us to dance and move. It connects us and is the soundtrack to many important moments in our lives.
And studies show that music is also a powerful medicine, especially for older people who are struggling with various diseases. “Music can increase dopamine (the hormone of happiness), reduce symptoms of depression and pain, and improve a person’s quality of life,” says Tammy Raver, Music Therapy Coordinator at Banner Hospice in Phoenix, Arizona. "Pleasant music plays an important role at any age, but the benefits are even greater for older people." Read on to learn more about the positive role of music in the lives of older adults and their caregivers, and how to incorporate it into your daily life.
Research has shown that music literally does something to our brains. “Music and reactions to music are found in all areas of the brain,” Raver said.
"It can occupy the mind and stir up emotions." According to the National Institutes of Health, music can evoke strong positive emotions and lift the spirit. Music can lower levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone that causes feelings of stress and anxiety. It also triggers other chemical reactions in the brain that trigger positive emotions. For older adults with age-related memory problems such as Alzheimer's, dementia, or Parkinson's disease, music can evoke memory, slow age-related cognitive decline, and increase cognitive processing speed.
"When one area of our brain is affected by disease or injury, musical cognition is preserved while other areas of our brain continue to respond," Laffer said. "Research has also shown that our brain waves automatically sync with the music we listen to." Music is also great for Alzheimer's patients because it encourages participation in the present moment. "Alzheimer's patients can often sing familiar lyrics to the beat, even if they don't remember current events," says Christine Frey, music therapy coordinator at Banner Hospice. "Music evokes memories and improves mood.
It creates a way to interact with loved ones who may not be able to express themselves. “For those battling cancer, music can reduce anxiety, depression, pain and fatigue. It helps them relax and cope with cancer in a way that no medication can.
Research has shown that the same neurotransmitter that our brain uses to communicate pain is also stimulated by sound; when both occur at the same time, the pain may not be as intense.
Few people suffer from age-related diseases or diseases alone. This is experienced by those who love and care for them. Music can also have a strong influence on caregivers. “Music opens up channels of communication and interaction,” Raver said.
"For families and caregivers, music can promote bonding, share positive experiences, and promote closure and acceptance." Music can also give family members and caregivers time to respite, especially for family carers. "This 'dual role' of family member and caregiver can sometimes be mentally and physically exhausting," Raver said. "Music gives time for rest and relaxation." Seniors and caregivers can greatly benefit from music, and it's something you can easily integrate at home and interact with your community.
Choir for Parkinson's, Dementia and Cancer patients and cancer survivors. Writer Hans Christian Andersen said, “Words fail, music speaks.” Music is indeed a powerful tool in our lives, but it has special effects as we age. Even if your loved one's words or memories fail you, you can find each other and talk through music. For more information about the Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Banner Sun Health Institute's healthcare provider support programs, visit banneralz.org.