music therapy for seniors

Advanced research on health therapies reveals the positive impact of innovative treatments such as music therapy. Overall, there are various therapeutic methods that can be helpful in improving motor skills, mobility, balance, coordination and cognitive performance in seniors. In this blog, we will focus specifically on music therapy and how it can be effective for seniors as they age.

The Cleveland Clinic defines music therapy as the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals such as reducing stress, improving mood and self-expression. It can also help with memory retention, lowering blood pressure, increasing motivation, improving self-esteem, managing pain and increasing joy. Fortunately, you do not need a background in music to reap the benefits. 

There are 4 types of music therapy that a therapist can utilize. A therapist that is well versed in using music therapy will determine what method is most beneficial for the patient. Below we explain the various therapy options and their benefits:

  • Receptive 

During receptive music therapy, the individual listens to music, while they sit quietly and relax or the therapist might have them meditate while the music plays or draw to the beat of the music. Receptive music therapy is used for relaxation, to reduce anxiety, encourage memory and help patients develop auditory skills.

  • Improvisation 

This method of music therapy has patients make music using their body (i.e. clapping or whistling) or their voice. The therapist will then listen to and interpret the client’s mood from their actions.The benefits of improvisation music therapy include encouraging connection with another individual through music and using music to communicate. This is especially effective for patients that have difficulties using words/language to communicate how they are feeling.

  • Composition

A patient can be tasked with composing their own music. This form of music therapy encourages creativity and fun, which can serve as an effective stress reliever for seniors, especially for those feeling down. Creativity is also good for the brain and can combat cognitive decline.

  • Re-creation

Re-creation therapy involves having a patient listen and recreate music. This can be done with instruments or singing. A therapist will play music for a patient to recreate. This therapy method promotes social skills and human interaction, as well as self expression and creativity.

In addition to the benefits discussed, studies show that music therapy has proven to be beneficial for combating Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. It’s shown to be effective at reducing agitation, improving behavior and allowing those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to communicate and connect more with their loved ones when verbal communication has declined. It also helps relax seniors struggling when their routines change; which can often be a trigger for agitation or anger in those with cognitive impairment.

Music therapy is just one of many innovative therapies for seniors. While alone it is not a cure for health issues, the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits of music therapy are important to consider what is best for a loved one and their continued health. 

To learn more about Adobe Health & Wellness and other healthcare technology innovations utilized to help members live a better quality of life visit or contact us to learn more.

exercising as you age

As we age, life might start to slow down but that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. It is common for energy levels to decrease with age, making it even more difficult to stir up the motivation to exercise. Fortunately, moving your body more will help increase energy both physically and emotionally. While you may no longer be able to run long distance or participate in high intensity training, aging does not mean it is time to take exercise out of our health routine. In fact, the benefits of exercising as you age are abundant. Here are a few:

Boosts Immune System, Helps Prevent Disease

Unfortunately, age is a risk factor for many illnesses. Thankfully, one of the significant benefits of exercise is a boost your immune system. Research has shown that regular exercise, as little as 30 minutes a day, supports the immune system. In fact, exercise can help protect against diseases such as colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other illnesses. In addition, exercising daily can help combat memory loss issues and cognitive decline. The health benefits of exercise are endless!

Preserves Bone Density and Relieves Osteoarthritis Pain

As we age, our bodies become a little less agile and a little more fragile. Bone health is especially important to manage as we get older because oftentimes our bones weaken and can develop into a condition known as osteoporosis. Fragile bones can also lead to an increase in falls and the injuries associated with falls can become a serious health issue. Regular exercise and strength training keeps your bones strong and slows bone density loss.

Improves Mood

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. Feeling a little down? One of the quickest ways to start feeling better is to get outside and move your body. You will be amazed at how much it can help. 

The benefits of exercise sound great, but before jumping in it’s important to know what exercise programs are safe for you to do as you age. Here we have identified exercises that are good for seniors and shared some of their specific benefits:

    • Yoga– Yoga helps you build muscle, improve your flexibility, and strengthen your bones without straining your joints and minimal risk of injury.  
    • Pilates– with a lot of focus on your core, Pilates uses slow movements to work on your balance and stability which can be very helpful as you age.
    • Strength training– while strength training might sound intense, it doesn’t have to mean you are lifting heavy weights. Strength training can mean light weights (1-2lbs), resistance bands, or using your body weight to do squats, stair climbing, etc. These exercises help to gain muscle and burn body fat.
    • Aerobics– Swimming, walking, riding a stationary bike, and rowing are all examples of aerobic exercises which are good for your cardiovascular health, help increase energy and support your heart and lungs.

If the thought of exercising as you age is overwhelming, we encourage you to visit the resource section on our website.