Experts say that music can move people. It is a therapeutic method to communicate better with people. Some also feel that music is a universal language that transcends emotions and becomes a cognitive stimulus for people. In geriatric care studies, doctors have suggested that patient caretakers must leverage music therapy for the cognitive improvement of elderly people.
Music therapy provides healing harmonies that can alleviate physical and emotional health issues of elderly people. Patient caretakers can introduce music therapy as a part of leisure activities. Mental health experts working with elderly people have observed that as people age, they hold to the sound of music as a lifeline. It is a powerful tool through which dopamine gets released to the brain to stir old memories and emotions.
For patient caretakers and the elderly care-receiver, music therapy has double benefits of eliminating both their stress and pain. But before we dive any further, let us know about music therapy.
What is music therapy?
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is an inferred and clinical way of using music to intervene for fulfilling individual goals within any therapeutic relationship.
Music therapy can be done in a clinical setting or via professionals hired for home nursing services or hospices for the elderly.
Now that we know what music therapy is, let us understand what benefit it provides to elderly people if conducted by patient caretakers.
Benefits of music therapy for elderly people:
When patient caregivers play music for elderly people, the vibrations and sounds produced from the music stir both the right and left sides of the brain. This helps in regulating the flow of dopamine as the person gets instant gratification from musical harmony. Also, the musical notes activate the auditory memories restored in our brain.
The elderly person might be able to recollect thoughts and recognize people associated with the music.
Caregivers providing home services to dementia patients can leverage music therapy for memory recall.
Elderly people often face difficulty in sleeping. Sleep experts have observed that babies sleep comfortably under the effect of soothing lullabies. The same environment through music therapy can be replicated for elderly people who have difficulty sleeping.
Patient caretakers can ask the elderly person about the type of music they like and play it.
In case the person does not know, the caregiver can play soft classical music. The harmonies and vibrations produced from the music relax the mind and create white noise, which helps the elderly person sleep comfortably, much like an infant.
Music acts as a potent social glue for people to interact. The patient caretaker can combine leisure activities with music therapy for improving the emotional health of the elderly person. Many elderly people feel alone and lose the purpose of living as they age.
By playing motivational and energetic music, they can be motivated to enjoy the moments in life.
Patient caretakers can also conduct group musical activities or even do a sing-along re-enactment of musical numbers to keep the elderly person jovial and help them interact better with their friends.
4.Motivate them in physical activity
Elderly people with their continued sedentary lifestyles feel demotivated to exercise and engage in any form of physical activity. Low activity can cause depression and reduce the flow of oxygen in their blood.
By leveraging music therapy, patient caretakers can hit two birds with one stone. Music therapy can be used as a tool for motivating elderly people to exercise and also uplift their mood.
While brisk walking or light exercising, moderately energetic music can be played to motivate them. Many elderly people love dancing, and by playing old retro dance numbers, they can dance for a while and feel happy during the activity.
Music therapy can also be combined with yoga and meditation to help an elderly person to ease their minds and improve concentration.
The simultaneous release of dopamine and serotonin through music and physical activity can act as a mood booster and improve blood circulation in the body.
5.Coping with depression and stress
Many older adults suffer from depression and stress. Living alone and not having an active lifestyle can induce dissatisfaction towards life. Being cooped up in the house also leads to anxiety and stress, which music therapy can reduce.
Music helps to release happy hormones that can uplift the moods of the elderly person. Experts also suggests that caregivers in home nursing services must play music according to the mood of the elderly patient. If they are feeling sad, sombre and motivating music can be played to cope with emotional upheavals.
Music can also benefit the caregiver as they also face anxiety and stress while tending to patients. It can relax their mind.
Anvayaa’s home nursing services cater to the holistic healthcare of elderly patients by enabling expert patient caretakers to combine music therapy into the day-today routine of the elderly patients.