As babies, we fell asleep to lullabies. As young children, many of us enjoyed banging on drums and participating in singalongs. When we got older, we danced to popular tunes and turned up the volume in the car radio when a favorite song came on. During one’s retirement years, there are many reasons to continue enjoying music.
From piano concerts to drum circles, listening to and participating in musical activities have been shown to be quite beneficial to older adults. Music helps relieve stress and may sharpen cognition. It’s a big factor in the success of the Music & Memory® program (which we have implemented in the Memory Care Suite at Lester Senior Living). The American Music Therapy Association cites studies pointing to music activities providing comfort and relief to seniors with dementia.
Listening to music affects our moods, triggers memories, and gets us talking to each other. It has also been shown to reduce pain and recovery time from injury, increase relaxation and lower heart rate, and allow for a better night’s sleep. Music provides motivation when exercising, and dancing to music is great for increasing mobility. Taking music lessons at an older age also helps keep minds sharper as well (as does a great game of “Name that Tune”).
There is research that supports music’s positive effect on mental and physical health, and its value to older people in particular. How many of us can relate to that feeling of well-being as we hum along to a beautiful tune, or that relaxed feeling when we hear a ballad?
At the JCHC, our communities offer residents many ways to enjoy the joys of music, including:
- Seminars on jazz greats and classical music
- Live performances by musicians and singers
- Musical holiday celebrations
- Presentations on famous composers and different music genres
- Drum circles, Kids’ Cookies n’ Concerts performances by area students, and dances
The JCHC has also hosted symphony concerts with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra that were absolute delights for all who attended.
All of these programs, which are often interactive, are always well attended. They are living proof that music is uplifting for everyone in the room—at any age.