The Magic of Music Recognized During Assisted Living Week

National Assisted Living Week - The Magic of Music 09/12/2014

Elmcroft Senior Living will join forces with the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to honor our residents, employees, volunteers and families during National Assisted Living Week.  From September 7th to 13th, we will celebrate The Magic of Music in our senior living communities across the country.

Every year since 1995, NCAL has used the first week of September to showcase the benefits assisted living offers to older adults.  This year we are happy to highlight the positive impact music has on the quality of life for older adults, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia.

Music’s Healing Harmonies and Alzheimer’s Disease

Music has the ability to soothe the spirit and calm the mind.  For older adults, music can also transport them back to happy times from the youth. It can help to boost mood and decrease rates of depression among seniors.  So much so, in fact, that music therapy has become a staple in settings ranging from in-patient hospice care centers to programs like our Heartland Village Memory Care.

For people living with dementia, music reduces the agitation and anxiety that are often very difficult for caregivers to manage.  Newer research seems to indicate that music, used appropriately, can even improve cognition. Alzheimer’s experts believe a person’s ability to engage with music stays intact later into the disease process because it requires little cognitive processing.  Rhythm playing and singing old familiar tunes can help stimulate the brain, each function relies on different parts of the brain to perform.

Music Therapy Tips for Family Caregivers

If you would like to begin to incorporate music into the daily life of a senior loved one you provide care for, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider the time of day and mood you are hoping to create and use appropriate music. For example, if you are trying to help motivate your senior loved one to increase their level of activity in the morning, play happy, peppier tunes. By contrast, if you are trying to soothe the agitation that comes with sundowning syndrome, keep soft music playing in the background. Music with nature sounds are good options to consider.
  • Avoid music that might trigger sad memories. It could be music your loved one played with a deceased spouse or other songs they might associate with difficult days.
  • It may help to put together play lists for the different moods you are trying to create. That will make it easier to turn on the music and quickly get started if your aging loved one suddenly begins exhibiting more difficult behaviors. How to Create a Personalized Play List for Your Loved One at Home is a great resource guide for helping you customize your list.
  • Having a few songs loaded that you can both sing along to is a great way to distract someone with Alzheimer’s disease or to chase away the blues for a senior living with a chronic illness. A few popular songs to consider are “You Are My Sunshine,” “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Additional Music Therapy Resources to Explore: