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The Healing Power of Music for Older Adults

By Emma Pizzuti


Music has the power to bring joy, reduce stress, and stimulate the brain. It can also provide a sense of connection and familiarity for older adults, particularly those living in long-term care facilities.

Here are a few reasons why music is important in elder care:


1. Music can improve mood and reduce anxiety: Studies have shown that listening to music can improve mood and reduce anxiety in older adults. This is particularly beneficial for those living with conditions such as dementia, as it can provide a sense of calm and relaxation.


2. Music can stimulate the brain: Research has also shown that listening to music can stimulate the brain and improve cognitive function in older adults. It can also help to delay age-related cognitive decline and improve memory and recall.

3. Music can provide a sense of connection: For older adults living in long-term care facilities, music can provide a sense of connection to their past and a familiarity that may be lacking in their current environment. It can also be a way for them to connect with others and participate in social activities.

4. Music can be used as a therapeutic tool: Music therapy has been shown to be effective in improving physical and emotional well-being in older adults. It can be used to address a variety of issues such as depression, pain, and difficulty with communication.


There are many ways to incorporate music into the care of older adults. Here are a few ideas:

1. Play music in the background: Playing music in the background during daily activities or at meal times can provide a pleasant and calming atmosphere.

2. Sing-alongs: Leading or participating in sing-alongs can be a fun and interactive way to incorporate music into care. This can be particularly beneficial for those living with dementia, as it can help to improve memory and recall.

3. Music therapy: Music therapy is the use of music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. It can be used to improve communication, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being.

4. Personalized playlists: Creating personalized playlists based on an individual's personal music preferences can provide a sense of familiarity and connection to their past.

5. Instrumental activities: Playing or listening to music can also be a form of sensory stimulation. Providing opportunities for older adults to play musical instruments or engage in other musical activities can be a meaningful and enjoyable way to incorporate music into care.


It is important to consider the individual needs and preferences of the older adult when incorporating music into care. It may also be helpful to consult with a music therapist or other healthcare professional for additional guidance.


Music is an important tool in elder care as it has the ability to improve mood, stimulate the brain, provide a sense of connection, and be used as a therapeutic tool. It is important for caregivers to consider the role of music in the care of older adults and to incorporate it into their care plans.

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