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20 Jul 2018

The Power of Music for Seniors


Topics: Senior Health, Music Therapy

Known as the universal language, music touches and impacts us in a variety of ways plus has also proven to be therapeutic.

Aside from just enjoying their favourite tunes and even if they no longer respond to words, music can help initiate communication and engagement with our loved one who have dementia.

One of the best ways to engage with them emotionally or create a reaction is by playing the music they can connect with.

A familiar or favorite song from their wedding or any other occasion they positively asssociate with can bring about beautiful memories and emotions.

Therapeutic music is a type of music that is used to control a physical, emotional or mental concern mostly for those with dementia.

Therapeutic musicians make use of the inner healing components of live music and genuine intentions to create and inspire an environment conducive to healing affected persons.



Music can be an effective tool to alter somebody’s mood, especially during personal care. For instance, if a person diagnosed with dementia doesn’t want to get dressed, playing slow and soothing music or a love song can help lessen your burden and make your love calmer.

Some helpful aspects include:

  • Aiding your loved one with dementia express their feelings, ideas, and emotions.
  • Helping to build a connection with people around them.
  • Promotes social interaction and encourage activity in groups.
  • Helps limit social isolation.
  • Provides a silent way of physical exercise for the affected.

Tips for making effective use of therapeutic music

  1. Choose music that your loved one likes:

Check to see if they have a collection of music or records/albums previously listened to.

Should you not be able to find any, with a host of various internet services, do a little digging to find out the popular and most loved music from their younger days.

  1. Pay adequate attention to the reaction of the person:

If you notice they feel uneasy or restless, turn the music off and stop for some time, then try new music to create a different and more positive reaction.

Do note, seeing them expressing a sad face can be a normal reaction to a previous memory that meant a great deal to them. Use this opportunity to sit with them, encourage a state of assurance, emotional stability and security.

If the response is better and positive, then engage them with the new playlist. If they make gestures like tapping their fingers or humming along to the music, help to keep up the tempo by doing the same thing.

This is a great opportunity to encourage some interaction.

As soul-touching as music can be, it can also invoke negative energy as well.

Pay attention to your loved one, checking their body language and any signs of discomfort.

Most people respond to music from a young age, before words and language are developed, continuing even when verbal abilities may be lost like in the case of a love one with dementia.

  1. Always start with cool, gentle and serene music:

Ensure you start with gentle music to prepare them in advance and then play the music you think will be best for the occasion.

Music is food to the soul and when used effectively, it can provide a wealth of good for your love one.