Why Self-Care for Seniors Should Include Music

The World Health Organization defines self-care as the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider. 

When practiced regularly, the benefits of self-care have been linked to reduced stress, an improved immune system, increased productivity and higher self-esteem. If you’re looking for an easy yet powerful self-care option, look no further than the benefits of music for seniors. Music as self-care can help reduce stress, improve symptoms of depression, and enhance productivity. 

Importance of Music

Music is a vital part of life from the very beginning. We use it to learn new things like our ABCs. It can get us excited and ready to go, or console us and help us remember special occasions.

In fact, to understand the power of music in the lives of older adults, you only have to look at how music can stimulate feelings of well-being by evoking strong memories and emotions. Plus, either performing or listening to music is a great way to make social connections. Music can spark discussions that improve relationships with friends and family.

Benefits of Music for Seniors

Music is an art, entertainment, and a part of all cultures. But not all types of music have favorable effects. Music that’s too loud or too jarring can be distracting, and can compete for our attention with what we’re trying to do. But for the most part, exposure to music, specifically classical music, has beneficial effects, including:

  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Improving memory 
  • Improving sleep
  • Improving mood and decreasing depression
  • Boosting immune function

Incorporating Music into Your Everyday Life

There are as many types of music as there are moments to play it. Here are seven suggestions of times when music can help with your self-care.

  1. Creating an oasis: Select one or two songs that you can close your eyes and relax to.
  2. On the move: Hearing music can make our bodies want to move. Studies show that when listening to upbeat music, people run farther, pedal faster and work out longer. Slower tempo music can also support stretching or yoga practices. 
  3. Recalling a memory: Listening to music from the past is like taking a trip back in time. Putting on a favorite song connected to positive, warm memories can instantly change your mood and spark memories.
  4. Finding focus: When you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, it is helpful to simply stop and find music to help you focus as your work toward your goals.
  5. Setting the mood: Music is intricately connected to all our emotions. Tap into the power of music to change your mood by creating special playlists with those moods in mind. A great place to start is with “energize” and “calm down” playlists. 
  6. Dance-off is on: Dancing incorporates the stress-relieving qualities of music, exercise, laughter and togetherness. And it’s perfect for any age and physical ability. You can dance in your chair or kick your shoes off and cut a rug.
  7. Gift of music: If you don’t listen to a lot of music, start with a few familiar songs during your “me” time. If you really want to stretch, learn to play an instrument. It could be something as simple as a drum or tambourine up to learning to play ukulele, guitar or piano. 

A Retirement Community in Tune with Your Life

At BroadviewSenior Living at Purchase College, we believe the benefits of continuing education go hand in hand with the benefits of music for seniors and our lifelong learning philosophy. Plus, our Charter Membership includes a unique program with specialized access to the Conservatories of Music, Dance and Theatre Arts; the School of Art+Design; the Neuberger Museum of Art; and The Performing Arts Center. You can learn more about our community and your exciting place in it here.