The Power of Music
Music has transformative power. The right tune can change your mood or console you when
you are down. We use music to celebrate the grandest moments of our lives from weddings to
funerals. A specific song or album can even transcend time and take a person back to a place
Seniors, more than anyone, can benefit from the power of music. Take the case of Henry.
Henry, who was described as “ vibrant” and “fun-loving” in his youth, became withdrawn and
depressed as his health deteriorated with age. In the documentary, Alive Inside, we see how
listening to music from when he was younger improves his spirit and brings life back into his
eyes. Social worker, Dan Cohen, describes music as a “quickening” therapy with positive effects
that can last beyond the time spent actually listening. After they take Henry’s headphones off,
he is livelier and shown chatting about his love of the music they play for him.
Seniors and Music Therapy
Seniors, in particular, can benefit from music. Music facilitates a happier outlook on life and
better social skills. It can increase mobility, coordination, and overall cognitive abilities. Music
stimulates the mind––especially in areas connected with memory. Furthermore, it helps reduce
stress and anxiety, which is good for a person both mentally and physically.
While much of the research involved with seniors and music studies show how it improves
symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, you don’t have to be seriously ill to reap the benefits.
Music can improve a person’s life in many ways, even if they do not suffer from a degenerative
brain disease. Below are some fun and creative ideas for incorporating more music into your life
and how it can benefit you.
Learning to Play an Instrument
Whether it’s your first time picking one up or you just want to refresh your memory on an old
favorite, taking lessons on how to play an instrument is a great way to exercise your mind and
promote dexterity. Researchers say playing an instrument benefits the brain more than any
other activity. It also helps reduce stress and signs of depression. Playing music may even help
increase your resilience against age-related decline in hearing.
When picking an instrument to play, start simple and work to more complicated versions. For
instance, if you’ve always wanted to play the saxophone, start with an alto. It’s the most
common version for beginners, and as you learn the basics, you can gradually work towards the
soprano if you want to tap into your inner Kenny G.
Taking Dancing Lessons
If you want to put more music into your life, there’s no more natural partner than dancing.
Dancing lessons help improve muscle strength, balance, endurance, and just your physical
health in general. Plus, the movement helps pump feel-good neurochemicals like endorphins
and serotonin into your brain. There are all kinds of dancing styles you can consider from formal
ballroom to trendy jazzercise. Music and dance can help keep you moving and shaking happily
for years to come.
One Word: Karaoke
If you are looking for something new and different to shake up your next fun occasion with
friends or family, karaoke is for you. Believe it or not, karaoke actually has health benefits. It
helps improve breathing and respiratory health and strengthens your diaphragm. Getting up
there and belting out your favorite tune helps beat anxiety and boosts self-esteem. Plus, doing it
with friends and family helps strengthen social bonds that create your health support system.
Music has transformative power that is beneficial for everyone but in particular seniors. While a
lot of research focuses on how music helps people with dementia, healthy seniors can reap the
benefits of music as well. Learning how to play an instrument, taking dancing lessons, and
doing karaoke with loved ones all keep seniors happy and healthy both mentally and physically.