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Recent research has revealed that music has a tangible impact on the brain. Music can engage the mind and elicit emotional responses. Studies have shown that active and passive listening to music can improve cognitive skills and abilities, recognition memory, and working memory. Additionally, music has been found to have the power to evoke strong positive emotions and uplift one’s mood, according to the National Institutes of Health. Music can promote positive feelings by lowering cortisol levels in the body, a hormone that can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety and triggering positive chemical reactions in the brain.

Illness and Music – Music has remarkable benefits for ageing adults with age-related memory issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease. It can help retrieve memories, slow cognitive decline, and enhance cognitive processing speed. Even when one part of the brain is affected by illness or injury, music cognition remains intact, and other brain areas respond. According to Kristin Fray, a music therapy coordinator for Banner Hospice, music encourages engagement with the present, which is especially beneficial for Alzheimer’s care patients who may not be able to recall recent events. They can often move to the beat and sing along with familiar songs, bringing back memories and uplifting moods. Studies have shown that sound stimulates the same neurotransmitter responsible for sending pain signals to the brain, so combining music with pain sensations can reduce pain intensity.

Music and Caregivers – Age-related disease or illness affects not only the elderly but also their loved ones and caregivers. Music can have a profound impact on them too. It can also facilitate closure and acceptance, which is crucial for the elderly and their caregivers. Additionally, music provides a much-needed respite break for caregivers who are often family members, juggling dual roles that can be mentally and physically exhausting. Reiver highlights that music can offer them some much-needed time for rest.

Incorporating Music into Your Everyday – Music can benefit older adults and caregivers, and incorporating it into your every day can be easy, below are a few ideas of how to do so:

  1. Play music in the background at certain times of the day to uplift the mood.
  2. For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, integrate music into their life by choosing songs they enjoyed as a teenager, encouraging them to play an instrument they once played, watching a concert recording, or dancing and singing together to boost energy.
  3. Use soft music in the evening to promote a calming transition to bedtime.

In the words of author Hans Christian Andersen, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Music can be a powerful tool, especially as we age. Even if your loved one struggles with speech or memory, music can create a bridge of communication and connection between you both.

Here at Royalty Care, we care and know the importance that music can play in anyone’s life, if you need or want any more senior care information, call us today at (705)-725-1600!