Music therapy for your elderly loved one: how could it help them thrive and age in place?

While listening to music on your own is wonderful, this is not the same as music therapy.

Music therapy is an established health profession in which the therapist uses music to help a person address any physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs.

A music therapist is trained in music therapy and uses it for the well-being of individuals.

You can find them at hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care centers or by calling your nearest healthcare facility and asking about music therapy services.

What are the benefits of music therapy?

There is research that shows that:

  1. Music therapy can reduce anxiety and stress and the effects of these.
  2. Music therapy can improve healing.
  3. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, music therapy can help them.
  4. It reduces the symptoms of depression.
  5. Music therapy helps with other psychological disorders as well.
  6. Have a loved one struggling with communication? Music therapy can help them communicate better.
  7. Music therapy improves a person’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment.
  8. It can provide an outlet for people to express their feelings and improve communication.
  9. This can be a way to support clients and their families emotionally.

What does music do to the brain?

Music stimulates the brain in ways that other things don’t.

Music has the power to affect a person’s memory and learning.

There have been studies that show that playing music in the background while people learn, helps them remember the information better.

And have you noticed you never forget nursery rhymes that taught you a lesson about life or science?

I learned a song for the names of the planets in our galaxy when I was 10 or 11. To this day, I’m able to recall all the names of the planets simply by singing that song.

Music has a powerful effect on our brains and simple scenarios like the ones I’ve described above demonstrate that.

With music therapy draws on this power to help individuals improve their overall well-being and health.

Who can benefit from music therapy?

Music therapy can benefit your older loved one who has dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease or one who suffers from chronic pain.

Research results and clinical experiences have shown music therapy to be especially helpful to elderly clients who haven’t responded to other types of treatments.

Because of the power of music on the brain-an organ that is affected when a person has dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease-music therapists can draw on this to help your elderly loved one.

So how can a music therapist help my elderly loved one?

A qualified music therapist will assess the needs of your loved one as a first step.

Once they’re able to determine your loved one’s strengths, and specific needs, they come up with an individualized plan for your loved one. This treatment plan will have goals as well as the techniques they will used to help your loved one.

A music therapist may:

  • compose music with your elderly loved one
  • accompany your loved one to a musical experience
  • or provide instruction on how to play an instrument

The specific music therapy techniques will depend on their initial and on-going assessments so it will not look the same for everyone.

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or is a chronic pain sufferer, talk to your doctor about a music therapy option.

It could be a way to improve things for your loved one, and possibly, your whole family.