The benefits of music have long been observed, and are seen across cultures and throughout time. Human brains have been hard-wired to distinguish music from noise, and are able to respond to rhythm, repetition, and tones.
Studies using MRIs and PET scans show that specific nerve networks in different parts of the brain bear the primary responsibility for decoding and interpreting various properties of music.
For older adults especially, listening to music can help dementia and other memory-care patients, stimulate the elderly brain, as well as be used as music therapy for seniors for seniors in assisted living and at home.
There’s no doubt about it: music programs and activities are great for the elderly. Here are five music-based activities and exercises for seniors that will support their health, happiness, and longevity.
Social distancing policies don’t mean that socializing stops. Virtual karaoke is a great opportunity safe socialization where the players can have fun and make friends while enjoying the benefits of music.
When making the content, choose an appropriate level of challenge, and make them fun! At televeda, we host sing-a-long classes for our members to enjoy music from throughout the decades. We take recommendations for songs they want to sing, record the music, create lyric screens, and then connect the seniors through a shared love of music.
At televëda, we host several classes that use the benefits of soothing music to enhance our seniors’ health. Our weekly Zen Flow class combines meditation, slow movements, and a sound bath for a well-rounded class that supports physical and mental health. These sound baths use a combination of Tibetan singing bowls and gongs to envelope class attendees with soothing, overlapping vibrations that promotes healing, reduces pain, and brings a sense of calmness to the listener.
Zen Meditation involves observing thoughts and feelings, as well as becoming in tune with the nature of one’s body. Practicers sit upright and follow the movement of their breath as they let go of all judgements. Some of the various benefits include reduced stress, better pain management, stronger immune systems, and lowered blood pressure.
While big concerts with large crowds are still months away, fans of classical music can get a taste of what they’re missing with these online concerts. At televeda, we offer free virtual concerts with the public through our partnership with the City of Chandler’s Symphony Orchestra: the CSO Wind Quintet.
Live streamed at live.televeda.com, these live music concerts have allowed seniors and their families from across the country to experience the benefits of music and community, safely.
To sign up for televeda’s next free live concert, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find other live music concerts online that cover a variety of music types. Check out this list here.
Dance is a fun, accessible exercise that only requires a desire to move! Dance improves agility, posture, and muscle memory. Studies have also shown dancing regularly reduces dizziness and helps prevent cognitive decline. So, whether you want to learn a dance routine, or just enjoy swaying to a favorite tune, dancing is a great cardio exercise for seniors.
Plus, it can help senior citizens work on balance and strength. A 2011 study showed that adults 65 and older at risk of falling could improve their gait and balance by walking and dancing to music. By the end of the study, the “dancers” of the study could walk better and experienced 54% fewer falls! Similar music and movement programs also appear to improve the mobility of patients with Parkinson's disease.
At televëda, we love to include aspects of dance in several of our fitness classes, as well as bring in experts to teach various dance forms, such as seated tap dancing with Team USA’s very own Zachary Kelly, learning Inner Dance Movement with Shiamak Davar, or tapping to the beat at our Strength & Fitness classes.
Music and dance provide numerous health benefits. Residents can dance as much or as little as they want, and you can get every floor grooving!
The game of musical chairs is a great way to combine movement and music for the elderly. However, please note this is not a socially-distant activity (unless you are playing it virtually).
When it's safe for seniors to socialize in person, set up a great game of musical chairs! This music exercise combines some of their favorite music with movement, friends, and a healthy sense of competition, you'll see multiple benefits from this classic game.
Music is an incredible way to bring healing, health, and fun into the lives of senior citizens. Whether providing a music therapy program, setting up a fun music game, or having them join virtual programming that offers music-based activities, bringing music to the lives of your older loved ones can bring so much joy.
Seniors, having retired but are still active and inquisitive, are increasingly taking a year of their own to knock various travel and experience goals off the bucket list before settling into their retirement in what is called a "golden gap year."