It is important for seniors to stay active and engaged in order to maintain their physical and mental health, ward off cognitive decline and preserve their quality of life. Expressive therapies, such as music therapy, provide opportunities to accomplish this while also offering other health benefits, such as enhanced communication skills, stress reduction and the opportunity to deal with grief through creative expression.
In This Music Therapy Article:
Music therapy is a therapeutic treatment offered by professionally trained therapists who help participants improve their physical and emotional health, motor skills, social skills, communication skills, cognitive functioning and quality of life. Like art therapy and other types of expressive therapies, music therapy is an evidence-based approach to helping participants achieve treatment goals, including improving and maintaining their overall health and wellness.
When participating in music therapy, seniors have the opportunity to create, listen, discuss, sing or move to the music as part of a group or individually. This may include simple drumming, dancing or writing lyrics. Music therapy for seniors is often used for stress reduction, to assist in expressing grief or other emotions, to provide opportunities for physical activity, as part of rehabilitation for those who have had a stroke, or to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Musical talent is not required to benefit from music therapy. Even seniors who have never picked up an instrument or sang along with the radio can see improvement in their physical and emotional wellness through this therapeutic practice.
Participants of music therapy do not need to know how to read musical notes, play instruments or write songs to enjoy the benefits of music therapy.
Seniors who participate in music therapy can enjoy a variety of benefits. Some of the potential benefits of music therapy include:
- Improved motor skills
- Improved cognitive function
- The opportunity to engage socially and improve social skills
- Enhanced communication skills and the ability to more readily express emotions
- Greater relief from grief, depression or anxiety
- Stress reduction
- Enhanced recovery after a stroke
- The opportunity to stay physically active
- Improvements in overall health and wellness
- Improved quality of life
Clinical research supports the assertion that music affects the brain and that music therapy can improve mood, reduce stress and decrease depression. Studies also show that stroke victims can experience more improvement from a combination of music therapy and exercise than from exercise alone. Some research has also shown improvements in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia after using this treatment, including improved facial recognition and social interactions, and a reduction in agitation and restlessness.
Music therapy for seniors is an effective treatment option that can enhance their quality of life and provide much-needed opportunities for social interaction and physical activity. People of all ages and at all levels of musical ability can benefit from this expressive therapy, making it a great addition to a treatment plan focused on improving physical, mental or emotional health.
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About the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!
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