Music can contribute to the health of seniors whether or not they are struggling with memory loss issues. Enjoying music in all its forms, especially live music, can make a positive impact on the daily mental and emotional functioning of seniors.
Live Music & Senior Health
Leigh has played for retirement communities and senior living homes in Portland and the Willamette Valley for years. Here are benefits seniors can gain by listening to live music:
1. Emotional Processing
Music has a unique way of letting people travel without ever leaving their seats. With music, seniors can process difficult emotions more easily. Aging comes with unique challenges, especially if memory loss of any kind is involved. Listening to soothing sounds, singing along to familiar songs, and dancing are excellent ways for older adults to improve their mental health.
2. Long-Term Memory Triggers
When we hear a familiar piece of music, we can awaken dormant memories. Concetta Tomaino, a certified music therapist from the Institute for Music and Neurological Function in Mount Vernon, NY, states that research shows a strong connection between the auditory portion of the brain and the limbic system, where the brain processes emotions, behavior, and long-term memory. This means that there is a distinct, biological link between the areas of the brain that store both memory and emotions.
When a memory-impaired adult listens to music, neurological pathways that don’t always respond to everyday language are activated. Older adults can strengthen their brains and help keep their memories intact by listening to music as often as possible.
3. Awaken Memory Associations
When Leigh is playing for memory-impaired seniors, she often notices that some individuals can recite all the lyrics to certain songs, even if they can’t remember the song names or artists.
Being reminded of phrases and melodies can reignite memories that they may not tap into otherwise. Music is a great tool for awakening memory associations and strengthening both long and short-term memory.
4. Decrease Social Isolation
Music is just a different form of communication. For older adults and seniors who have lost the ability to communicate, music can be liberating. Studies have shown that music can enhance communication, language abilities, and cognition in those with dementia.
These benefits, coupled with the innate desire to move, clap, and sing along to music, inspire communication and relationship-building in seniors. Decreasing social isolation through music is a great way to enhance the overall quality of life for seniors — especially those living in retirement communities.
5. Pain Relief
Music therapy has increased substantially in recent decades. Research continually shows that music is not just for entertainment — it is also a therapeutic tool. Since some older adults may be limited in their physical and emotional capacities, music contributes to pain relief.
Hire a Harpist for Senior Living Activities
There is no telling just how beneficial music can be — especially when heard live and in person. By hiring a harpist for senior living events, older adults can engage with long-forgotten memories, increase their sense of well-being, and decrease a sense of isolation. Hire Leigh to schedule a live harp performance for your senior living facility.
Get in touch with Leigh at 503-756-5508. Or click the link below.