At some point in our lives, most of us have picked up an instrument and played a few songs or managed to learn how to sing a few vocal arrangements. We’re just now discovering that music carries several important therapeutic qualities, which have now been observed to assist in the treatment of some substantial medical complications – from encouraging the autistic to communicate, to providing cognitive stimulation to assist Alzheimer’s patients. Both live-in caregiver and care receiver ought to consider sharing their musical preferences with one another – you’ll enjoy a wealth of health benefits by doing so. Here are some fun and easy ways to get started.
Singing in a group, singing all alone
Singing has its roots in the deepest part of the human psyche – it’s a practice that’s been with our species since our earliest days. To sing in a group creates a calming, contended frame of mind, as we surrender to the warmth of our collective voices. Joining a choir can prove to be an incredibly beneficial activity – one that succeeds at stabilizing our emotional state, all while invoking a wonderful sense of community.
Often, when we sing while we’re alone, our imaginations create a narrative to accompany our song. Perhaps you picture yourself performing on a national television show or maybe your song is the background music to a memory you’re reliving in your head. Either way, the act of singing stimulates the creative centres in the brain – making it a fun and fascinating strategy for keeping our minds active and nimble.
Playing an Instrument
As any guitar enthusiast can attest, when you revisit an instrument after a long break, it inspires a wealth of associated memories as you play it again – from the people and places where you performed, to the songs you once wrote and the sources of their inspiration.
Songs become easily associated with emotionally charged memories – which makes playing music a deliberate and effective strategy for influencing your emotional state. A conscientiously selected playlist can have a truly uplifting effect on your psyche.
The process of playing an instrument offers a variety of associated benefits. It builds muscle control and dexterity, develops hand-eye coordination, and can even yield a great workout – especially if you play a large horn or the drums. If you’re lucky enough to have a family that’s musically inclined, a jam session can offer siblings, parents, and grandparents a unique opportunity to engage in a fun and cooperative activity together.
Playing music offers seniors an organic and creative way to socialize with one another. Contact your nursing home or home care provider, and ask them to connect you with the programs and organizations that can cater to your specific musical ambitions.
Josh Byer is an author, blogger, and copywriter residing in Vancouver, BC. His article appears compliments of SeniorsZen.com, a free-of-charge housing resource for Canadian retirees and senior citizens.