How Music Can Help Seniors with Memory Problems
While to laymen music might not mean more than concerts and loud partying, there are problems you could solve using music—problems that range from memory issues to depression to beyond.
In fact, music therapy is pretty widely known these days, and is renowned for helping people improve their mental health. Not only is music therapeutic, but it’s also known to improve quality of life. Seniors with memory problems such as dementia often have trouble connecting with the here and now. When they listen to music, things begin to change—and this blog will discuss what you can do with 5 minutes of a great song.
Music helps reduce stress. Listening to a song that you like can help slow down your heart’s fluttering beating, and thus cortisol levels in the body are reduced. The music used for this purpose is usually rhythmic so as to help a person relax.
Degenerative diseases such as dementia are characterized by memory loss and speech impairment. Music helps improve nonverbal communication skills by making people hum or even sing along, which is great in terms of improving speech skills.
A Stanford research highlighted how music helps in stimulating specific brain regions, resulting in increased blood flow, which in turn boosts cognition.
It’s common knowledge that good music makes you want to dance along. It doesn’t even have to be full-fledged dancing—one could be moved enough to want to clap or tap toes, but that music encourages people to move is a given. This is specifically good for people with musculoskeletal issues, and for seniors in general whose lethargy limits their ability to do physical activity.
Songs for Seniors
To start with, music doesn’t really have to be in “song” format for you a senior. If it’s a senior loved one or a parent, chances are you probably know what kind of music they liked in their youth and adulthood. You’d know their favorite artists and bands, and that’s where you can start from. You can, of course, experiment with the music choices you have, and try playing some of your own music for them.
However, always bear in mind that there’s a whole generation between you and your senior loved one, and that they won’t always like what you like. We’d especially suggest against loud music (we don’t think it’s a sensible idea to make seniors with Alzheimer’s listen to metal or rock) and go in favor of something more serene and soothing.
At best, you need something upbeat (to encourage them to move), something rhythmic and nice to listen to (to help in the cognition and speech skills department), and something from their era (preferably the 80s) which they’ll have no qualms listening to.
If you’re looking for a senior living or memory care community center near Calabasas, you should try out AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care in Tarzana. Take a visual tour or contact AGS to find out more today.