To forget your keys, the name of your neighbour, where you put your glasses, or even forgetting your password, is annoying, but it happens to all of us. But when you forget where you live, fail to recognise a close friend, forget what things around you are called, even your own name, then you have a serious problem.
Music is often used to provide motivation for physical activation in the elderly. Playing instruments can increase range of motion, develop muscle strength and tolerance, and enhance both fine and gross motor functioning. Singing can improve oral-motor skills and enhance respiratory functioning. The use of a technique called Melodic Intonation Therapy has been successful in restoring functional speech for some persons who have suffered cerebrovascular accidents. Music can also facilitate states of relaxation thereby promoting sleep and decreasing pain and anxiety.
Song writing, instrumental improvisation, discussion of lyrics, and directed music listening can help promote verbal and non-verbal communication. Music can be used to validate feelings of grief, loneliness and depression and assist in promoting feelings of wellbeing and satisfaction.
Music therapy offers an alternative and positive approach for reinforcing quality of life for the elderly.
Music therapy has been shown to have beneficial effects for those with dementia. It can have the effect of engaging persons in a way that other mediums may not, often invoking memories and encouraging articulation of both songs and thoughts. It can also have a calming effect with response to music and the reminiscing and discussion music prompts. The relaxation effects of music therapy are known to decrease anxiety and therefore promote healing.
Music has power—especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. And it can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease.
When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.
This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.
Senior citizens benefit greatly from music therapy intervention. Here are just a few improvements noted by existing clients and their spouses and families:
- Better awareness and concentration
- Enhances interest levels and social interaction
- Improves memory and recall
- Happier outlook on life and higher self-esteem
- Increases mobility and coordination
- Diminishes pain and improves recovery time
- Reduces tension and promotes relaxation
Patients will have the opportunity to participate in activities whilst in CAMU to enhance their participation in group and individual settings similar to their experiences in the community to assist in their transition back to the community.