Music May Aid Elderly's Anxiety and Depression
By Michael Cole
New research into listening to music as a form of therapy demonstrates how it can be effective in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression for older adults. For people over the age of 65, music has been demonstated to promote well-being, enjoyment in social interactions, improved memory, and a greater sense of social inclusion.
Furthermore, for older patients with dementia music was able to help reduce the levels of confusion and the resulting anxiety, which improved their quality of life overall. These benefits were shown to have psychological as well as physiological effects in clinical settings.
The incorporation of music into environments in which older adults are being cared for, such as nursing homes, has been shown to be quite easy. This is because music is universally recognized as inexpensive and non-controversial while also showing little ethical, legal, or cultural hangups.
The fact that music is a safe and evidence-based nursing intervention for older adults makes it quite adaptable to many care facility settings in which staff could make good use of it.
What's Your Pleasure?
The type of music chosen is an important consideration. Heavy metal at high volumes is likely to have a counterproductive effect on generations who grew up during the jazz age, for example. Universally lauded forms like classical and opera were found to be most readily accepted by older adults. Whether the music was played over public address systems or on personal audio devices, its effects helped to tone the mood in adult care facilities from morose and anxious to cheerful and lighthearted.
As humans age, physical stimulation from outside events like dramatic performances, sports spectacles, or live musical performances become less of a priority for entertainment. Physical fragility can mean that leaving the influence of a nursing staff presents danger to an older adult’s well-being. For this reason, pre-recorded music can become a sensory experience that can be brought to older adults, rather than them going to it.
When the mind is engaged in concentrating on the harmony, melody, and rhythmical moments within a musical piece, it becomes distracted from the painful reminders that often beset older adults living in managed care facilities. The sound transports them to other times and places where positive memories can restore vitality to tired minds that may suffer from loneliness due to being separated from close family or having lost a spouse to old age.
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