We know that music affects our emotions, but new research has found that it has very real and lasting effects on our health. In particular, those research findings suggest the cognitive and emotional health of seniors can be improved through exposure to positive music. Learning more about this area of research can even help you improve your senior loved one’s overall quality of life.

Can Music Diminish the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The American Music Therapy Association promotes the idea of exposing dementia and Alzheimer’s patients to music, because it can positively influence their conditions. According to their research, music in any form, including digital music and sing-alongs, helps to alleviate the suffering associated with these conditions. This is partly because music stimulates memory recall, which is essential for keeping dementia-related memory loss at bay. As seniors are exposed to their favorite music, they will recall experiences and emotions from the past, forcing that part of the brain to work harder.

More Benefits of Music Therapy

Listening to music helps to strengthen physical, emotional, and cognitive health for people of all ages. However, the benefits for the elderly are more pronounced, because of the physical and cognitive decline people experience in their senior years. One way that music helps is by encouraging physical activity through dancing, which will help reinforce balance and coordination. Over time, moderate dancing can even strengthen muscles and improve mobility.

Listening to music also improves social interactions, which is essential to maintaining good cognitive health. As people sing and dance together, they make positive connections with others in the group. Greater social interactions will boost self-confidence, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

There’s also evidence that listening to music, and dancing to it, helps alleviate chronic pain. This makes it easier for seniors to relax, which means they’ll also sleep deeper through the night. While researchers are just beginning to uncover the broad range of benefits that listening to music provides, it’s clear that it does provide relief for many of the cognitive and emotional conditions that primarily affect seniors. If your senior loved one isn’t listening to music regularly, making them a playlist of their favorite songs may help improve the overall quality of their life.