Music Therapy for Aging Adults

Imagine you’re listening to your favorite song. Think about how it makes you feel. Take a moment to consider when you may play that song and why. What you may be doing (and not even know it) is experimenting with music therapy. The combination of music with therapy is meant to address several emotional, cognitive, and many other social issues for people of all ages. The act of listening to music (and yes even making music) can allow you to express yourself in a more creative means that sometimes surpasses even words. Music therapy is often used with people who have disabilities or illness, but the healing benefits of music can be enjoyed by anyone and at any age.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy can have a powerful impact. Studies have found that pain, grief, and a wide variety of other problems can be effectively treated with music. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), Music Therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” It is a health profession that is now a common major at many universities and colleges. The music therapist provides therapeutic care to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

Music therapists work in a variety of clinical settings, such as hospitals, behavioral and psychiatric settings, and intermediate care homes, and other healthcare provider locations.

How Music Therapy Helps Aging Adults

Music therapy provides opportunities for aging adults to improve and enhance their:

  • Memory recall
  • Reduce stress and anxiety (this works for the caregiver too)
  • Sense of self control (over one’s own life)
  • Emotional connection with other family members who participate
  • Management of pain and discomfort
  • Mood and emotional state
  • Social activity within the community
  • Creativity

Music therapy can be an individualized or group activity. Overall, the calming effect of music, can positively affect heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. So, try incorporating more music into your aging loved one’s life. Discuss in more detail with your physician and contact your insurance provider to find music therapists in your area.