What are some of the Benefits of Music Programming & Activities on Senior Citizens’ Overall Health?
Music Therapy Programs: Music provides comfort. Some benefits of music therapy for seniors include: enhanced communication; easier expression of feelings such as fear, loneliness, and anger in patients who are in end-of-life care or are suffering from a serious illness; and coping strategies. We had an entire series on. Brain Health, with one of the main topics being music therapy.
Music and the Aging Brain:Music stimulates memories. Though there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, music has been shown to relieve some of its symptoms. It can also relax agitated patients, improve mood, and improve communication.
Quicker Recovery for Older Adults: Music helps with healing. Studies have seen patients recuperate quicker from strokes, surgeries, and falls. It can also help manage pain by reducing stress levels and providing a competing stimulus to pain.
So, bringing music into the lives of senior citizens with a karaoke night is a fun way to provide them the benefits of music and singing with the benefits of socialization.
Note: karaoke is NOT music therapy. It's just a fun music activity!
How to Set Up the Best Virtual Karaoke Night for Seniors
Transitioning from in-person karaoke to providing this event on a live streaming platform can sometimes be a little daunting, especially when you’re working with an older population. But, virtual karaoke is one of the best socially distant activities to try online, given that so much of it is automated already.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Virtual Karaoke Night
Catering to older adults isn't always a straightforward task, so here’s how you can bring the fun of virtual programming to them, and make your virtual karaoke party the best socially distant night for your seniors.
First things first: get your live stream set up. No matter what platform you’re using, there are a few things to be careful of with live streaming virtual karaoke for older adults.
1. Virtual Karaoke Audio
What would a karaoke night be without impeccable audio? Audio quality is a high priority no matter who you’re streaming to, but especially when it’s senior citizens. Your viewers may be hard of hearing, so make sure they can hear you and others singing clearly and loudly. No one wants to hear feedback when hitting that high note of Bohemian Rhapsody!
2. Virtual Karaoke Video
There are several sites that provide karaoke lyrics, but since you have an older audience, make sure to choose wisely. The site needs to be appropriate for older users: large font, applicable songs, and easy to use. You don’t want to discourage your audience from engaging by making it too complicated. YouTube also has many prepared karaoke videos prepared, and is a good option if you’re comfortable curating the tunes.
If you’re making your own lyric slides, your lyrics should be in a large font that’s easy to read. Senior viewers could have vision challenges, and reading on a screen can be tough no matter one’s age. Make sure to show only a few phrases on the screen at a time, as well as change the slides to the right tempo.
3. Virtual Karaoke Live Streaming Platform
Make sure you and your players know how to use whatever platform you choose. There are pros and cons to many of them, so do a little research before you start. It needs to be senior-friendly, so focus finding one with little set up, and higher security.
Know your audience! When choosing the songs, be sure they’re appropriate for your audience. You may love the latest pop song, but you’re going to want to choose music your members recognize and love.
Picking a theme each week can help you narrow down song options, and keep your audience engaged: try 50’s hits one week, and 70’s the next. Or choose a few artists for each session. I'd suggest Googling "popular songs from the 40s," "popular songs from the 50s," and "popular songs from the 60s" for some more ideas!
Best karaoke songs for senior citizens or older adults:
I Only Have Eyes For You
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
I Walk the Line
Blue Suede Shoes
Oh What a night
Come Fly With Me
My Eyes Adored You
Rock Around the Clock
Put Your Head on my Shoulder
Plus, when it's holiday time, make sure to include classic holiday karaoke songs!
You have to determine how you’re going to run the karaoke night: are people singing together, are they going one by one, are there duets, etc.? There’s a lot to determine before jumping in, and making these decisions first will help it run as smoothly as possible.
Once the process has been decided, make sure your viewers understand how it works, and how to follow along with the music and singing.
Additionally, though having a large group is great, a game with manageable sizes may be more fun and engaging because it keeps it intimate and allows for friendship creation and socialization. You don’t want seniors to feel overwhelmed, or unable to join in because of the group size, so keep that in mind with organizing your virtual karaoke parties. Sometimes smaller group activities are just better!
Make sure you can adjust participant settings, like muting, very easily. If you’re having a lot of feedback from someone, you’ll need to be able to mute them while other singers are getting their voice on!
Virtual Karaoke is a Great Socialization Opportunity for Senior Citizens
One last note: it’s important to make your karaoke night engaging, exciting, and personalized. Keep your energy high, make eye contact with the camera, and use participants’ names.