How Music Can Enhance Seniors’ Health and Happiness

Written by guest writer, Karen Weeks

 

If you’re worried about your health declining as you get older, you aren’t alone. One of the biggest worries cited by American seniors is diminished health. As you age, it becomes more important to invest in your physical, mental, and emotional health. Incorporating music into your everyday life is a wonderful way to improve overall well-being.

The D’addario Foundation is committed to helping people institute positive change in their lives through music, providing high-quality instruction to persons of all ages. This is just one of the many resources available to you as you explore ways to insert music into your everyday life. Read on to learn more about why music is so beneficial and for ideas on how to harness the power of music to improve your health.

How music helps seniors thrive

Age-related cognitive decline is a common concern among seniors. Playing a musical instrument can actually help keep your mind sharp and minimize the rate of decline. Musical training is proven to change the brain’s structure, supporting optimal function. Research suggests that musicians are generally more mentally alert than non-musicians. Learning songs by heart also improves memory.

Additionally, music can be a great way to boost your mood. According to the AARP, music is able to lower stress, decrease anxiety, and generally improve mental wellbeing. You don’t have to play music to reap the rewards. Simply listening to your favorite happy song is enough to do the trick.

If you do decide to play an instrument, you can also benefit from the social aspect of making music with other people. Loneliness is a serious issue among seniors and often leads to depression in older adults. Socializing is shown to alleviate signs of depression, so getting together with others to make music can help keep you happy.

You can also benefit from music by using it as a means to learn a foreign language. Listening and singing to songs in another language will help you learn new vocabulary and master pronunciation. You don’t need fancy technology. Just find YouTube videos of songs you like, look up the lyrics online, and start singing. How does this benefit your health? Learning a foreign language is thought to help prevent dementia.

Last but not least, music can also support physical health by giving you a great reason to get moving. Get your exercise by dancing to some of your favorite songs alone or with friends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Dance for 30 minutes five days a week and you’ve met the minimum criteria.

Ideas for incorporating music into your life

If you want to listen to music (or dance and sing along), look for videos on YouTube. You can also pay for a streaming service like Spotify to access ad-free music. If you want to be able to take your music on the go, invest in a portable music player. Alternatively, you can simply use your smartphone and download the Spotify or YouTube apps. However, beware of going over your limit for the month if you do a lot of streaming on the go.

If you want to learn to play music yourself, the internet is likewise a treasure trove of information. You can find music lessons and educational resources online, many of them free. Beware, however, that the internet can pose security risks, like identity theft. Be proactive about cybersecurity. Verizon has practical tips on staying safe. You should change passwords regularly, for example, and never give out personal details online. Installing anti-virus software and using a firewall security protection is also a smart move.

Don’t let worries about online security hold you back, however. The point is simply to take precautionary measures. You can then enjoy access to many musical resources online. This is a simple and enjoyable way to protect your health as you get older.

Written by: Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net

Photo Credit: Pexels.com