The Use of Music as Therapy in Elderly Patients

March 18th, 2014

As patients age, their health problems can increase from brittle bones to memory loss, and while there are few options to drastically improve their mental state, new research is providing hope for an improved quality of life for their daily life. Music therapy can be the medium used to bring the elderly out of their depression and provide them with an outlet for strength and happiness. The ideology behind the therapy is simple: music can recreate memories and cause the elderly to interact with something positive and happy, music.  When the brain is stimulated, it tends to stay in that state so the elderly can have hours of productive brain thought after the initial music therapy session.

Creating a Higher Quality of Life for the Elderly
Plagued with health problems, medications that make them groggy and even a loss of special memories can make the elderly depressed and they will sometimes retreat from the world. When this occurs, their health begins to deteriorate at a rapid pace without daily walks, mental stimulus, and the social interaction that humans need on some level. Music has always been regarded as a mood-lifter and a positive influence in lives. It can reduce anxiety and confusion with dementia patients, causing them to interact with others and when the brain is stimulated, it can lead to increased functionality throughout the day. The elderly are more apt to vocalize a problem and even remember things on their own. Even for the elderly without dementia, the music will create a calm environment and happier exchanges with others in the community as well as the caregivers.

Easy to Understand Why it Works
When the elderly are placed in a retirement setting or even with a caregiver at their home, it can be a scary time. Not only is it is a new situation to face but many times, they may wake up, forgetting where they are and why they are there. Music therapy can work as a calming agent to decrease the agitation felt by these patients who will struggle to put into words their own feelings of helplessness and confusion. Every one of all ages will respond more positively to a happy mood and something familiar, especially the elderly when they hear music from their past that can conjure up good memories for them. It will encourage them to sing along and it may be surprising to see how much they do remember from the “good old days” of their past and the conversations that follow can create stronger relationships and enjoyment. Elderly care facilities around the country are implementing music therapy for patients in all stages of care and seeing dramatic results when the patients are given the chance to choose their favorites on a music device. 

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