Benefits of Music for Seniors
Updated: Jan 26, 2022
How music is a mood enhancer for seniors
Many things can affect your mood. The weather, relationships, diet, stress, music, etc. are all things that impact your mood daily. They trigger a chemical in the human body that can stimulate a positive or negative response.
Brain Chemicals Impacted by Music
When a good song starts playing, and you start jamming to it, the brain chemical dopamine is triggered. Dopamine is responsible for making you feel good. Listening to or playing a musical instrument will trigger a small boost of this chemical. Another brain chemical triggered by music is oxytocin. Oxytocin is released from the feeling of joy. Engaging in music with other people or having fun at a live concert will release oxytocin into the brain. Music not only increases these two chemicals; it helps to decrease cortisol which manages your stress level. Athletes, for example, will have headphones in before a game, practice, or while training. They might be listening to music or a podcast. This is because music not only gets the brain excited and happy, it can control and help you relax. Music has many therapeutic qualities and can be beneficial to incorporate into your daily routine.
Brain Health, Brain Function, Intelligence, Happiness, Productivity
Music Makes Your Brain Bigger
Brain scans of professional musicians show that they have a larger brain than non-musicians. Brain scans of musicians also revealed that their brain is more symmetrical. The left side and right side of the brain also work more in unison because the corpus callosum is larger (nerve fiber band use to transfer information between the two hemispheres in the brain).
Music Can Improve Your Mood
Studies show that your mood can impact the type of music you listen to at a specific point in time. Listening to upbeat music puts you in a better mood. Listening to a throwback song brings back memories and feelings from that time in your life, and when you are sad or going through a tough time listening to a song you can relate to, can help make you feel less alone. Sad music is cathartic and can help you get in touch with your emotions to start the healing process.
Music Makes You More Productive
Music comes in all sorts of styles and genres. Does it seem like there is a song that is perfect for any and every moment? Have you ever noticed that there is a genre or playlist for every occasion?
When your studying, working, exercising, etc., listening to music can make you happier and more productive. If you are in an office setting listening to background music while working can enhance your performance, be more efficient, and improve your mood. Under high-pressure situations like athletes or surgeons, listening to music can help lower your stress so you can work faster and more accurately.
How can seniors incorporate music into their daily lives?
We have access to many sources that make listening to music easy. Your cell phone, television, iPad, asking Alexa, “Play my playlist.” The majority of all technology now has voice control, making it easy for seniors to say what they want instead of having to type. As we get older, our hands don't want to work as well. Arthritis could kick in, which can make it difficult for seniors to use touchscreens. If you are doing something indoors or outdoors, play some background music to help you stay relaxed and trigger the good chemicals in your brain. Get a double boost of Dopamine and Oxytocin.
How can seniors benefit from music?
I mentioned earlier that listening to music can bring back memories. Well, this is especially important for seniors. Seniors who have Alzheimer's or dementia who listen to music are more likely to remember memories and emotions from the past. Remembering something from the past, especially a happy moment in their life can trigger a release of Dopamine and Oxytocin. These two chemicals can help make seniors happy, thus decreasing any anxiety or stress that they could be feeling. This can also lead to a decrease in senior's heart rate and blood pressure. Another health benefit that seniors get from listening to music is a decrease in pain that they could be experiencing. Music has a calming effect.
Another thing that is important for seniors that has a direct correlation to music is exercise. Exercise is necessary for the body to stay mentally and physically healthy. As we age, exercise becomes more important. Music can motivate seniors to move around. The more seniors are active the more benefits they reap. Through music, seniors see an increase in motivation to be active. Being active is beneficial to the mind and body. Music will improve quality of life, and by being more active during the day when it becomes nighttime, they will have a better quality of sleep.
If you have read this far, you should be an expert on how music directly impacts seniors. You can see how everything is connected. Seniors can benefit from listening to music in so many ways. All it takes is listening to music for 30 minutes a few days a week. If you listen to music daily, then you are golden.
Benefits of Music for seniors
Motivation for seniors to exercise (walk, jog, dance, stretch, etc.)
Reduces anxiety or stress that seniors may have
Reduces blood pressure
Reduces heart rate
Decreases recovery time
Increases the feeling of satisfaction
Improves health by enhancing mood
Improves quality of life for seniors
Improves quality of sleep, whether it is listening to music during the day or listening to it to fall asleep
Improves social interaction
Improves mental alertness
Improves immune function
Improves mobility and coordination