These days, music is more available than ever before. For those who bring smartphones or tablets with them everywhere they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of tunes – are just a few taps or finger swipes away. If you are a caregiver for an older adult, your smartphone may become one of the most helpful tools in your possession in helping tap into the benefits of music. This widely circulated video clip from the Alive Inside documentary demonstrates just how incredibly effective music can be for seniors with limited capabilities and dementia.
Music is Accessible
With limitless musical libraries easily available from places like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and countless others, we can now access music, in many cases for no cost, in a range of styles in only seconds. Caregivers can determine what kinds of music the older person liked throughout his or her lifetime. The music might be related to a certain period of time, like Big Band music, or it may be unique to his or her religious beliefs, like gospel or hymns, for example. The type of music enjoyed during one’s life might also hinge on the person’s ethnic background – such as those who prefer reggae or salsa. The older adult may also have enjoyed timeless favorites such as jazz, blues, classical, country, etc. No matter the musical preference, access to music could have powerful advantages.
Music Brings Back Memories
Did you ever listen to a song on the radio and it took you back to a distinct time in your life? Studies have revealed that music is clearly linked to personal memories. The human brain is essentially hard-wired to associate music with long-term memories. This is the case even for individuals with moderate to severe dementia.
Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of older adults through digital music technology, immensely improving quality of life. The employees at Music & Memory train caregivers for seniors and family members in how to develop and use individualized playlists with digital devices to empower seniors who have dementia and other challenges to connect once again with the world through memories from music.
Music Reduces Anxiety
Research has also shown that listening to music that is familiar and well-loved can assist in lowering anxiety levels and enhance focus on the present timeframe. This in turn, can assist elderly with dementia in connecting to other people around them.
At CareFor, our intent is always to improve the quality of life for seniors through our highly skilled dementia home care services and support. And, we go the extra mile in the little things that can bring joy to those we serve – such as through music and other creative activities. Contact us today at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about our Austin senior home care and the communities we serve.