An increasing number of older Americans – as well as their in home caregivers – are turning to one of the oldest of all human inventions to find solutions to the problems associated with aging: Music.
Music therapy is a rapidly-growing field of research and testing. Many scientific tests have shown that in certain conditions, and with certain mental issues, music therapy delivered by trained professionals can be an effective alternative to more expensive forms of therapy.
We have yet to learn many aspects about music and its effects on the brain, but already some areas seem to be aided. Music and its influence might be beneficial when providing your own Bala Cynwyd in home care.
What makes music special is that it is an “all brain” activity. Music utilizes parts of both the left and right sides of the brain, and musical ability is often unaffected when just one side is damaged, such as in a stroke.
Basically, music therapy tries to leverage this effect to bypass or work around damaged areas of the brain.
Through research and testing, scientists have observed that even if someone has suffered neurological damage that harms their ability to talk, their ability to sing remains relatively unaffected. One of the key focuses of music therapy research is in finding ways to harness positive effects, and restore communication skills to those who have lost their speech capacity.
Music is extremely evocative. People remember music easily, and music is often directly tied to specific experiences in their lives. So, another focus of cognitive music therapy is using music from the patients’ past to help trigger memories which they have lost the ability to access in other ways. Music therapy is also used more generally to improve memory recall.
Beyond the brain-specific benefits of music, music is simply a great physical activity to engage in. Music therapy has been shown to reduce pain and recovery time. Aside from that, dancing can be an effective and enjoyable form of exercise, while playing an instrument –such as drumming- helps maintain manual dexterity. In turn, the activities mentioned can also sometimes help stave off mental deterioration, such as occurs in Alzheimer’s patients.
Finally, music can be an excellent social activity. Whether dancing, singing, or playing instruments, music can involve every person in a room. For seniors who are becoming withdrawn, or are losing their ability to communicate on a social\emotional level with other seniors, music can create a bridge between them.
Socialization has also been found to be a key factor in slowing down age-related dementia.
Neighborly Home Care provides expert in home care in Bala Cynwyd, striving always to improve the quality of life for seniors. Neighborly Home Care supports the efforts of local company MusicWorks, which provides in home music therapy sessions for seniors over the age of 60. Please contact Neighborly Home Care for further information and a free consultation.