As time goes by, memories may fade, but music holds a special place in our brain and hearts. As humans, we are intricately connected to rhythm and melody from birth, and even when we can’t remember what we had for lunch, we might still be able to recall every word of a song from childhood.
Music is powerful and research has shown the myriad benefits it provides for the elderly, from reducing stress to relieving pain to improving the symptoms of diseases like Parkinson’s. It can also rekindle happy memories, relieve boredom, motivate movement, stimulate the mind, promote social interaction and evoke positive emotions.
You don’t need to be formally trained as a music therapist or have perfect pitch to bring joy to a loved one. Here are some simple tips for bringing music and its benefits into their lives:
- Sing the lullabies your loved one sang to you as a child
- Belt out the basics, from standards like Happy Birthday or The Star Spangled Banner to any song that has meaning in your family
- Give your regards to Broadway by singing old show tunes
- Play music your loved one enjoyed dancing to as a young person—whether its swing, big band or early rock and roll
- Dust off the piano or clarinet from your high school band days
- Sing the spiritual hymns that bring comfort to your loved one
- Bring out the Elvis, Sinatra, Beatles or any other favorite artists you can sing along to
- Invite friends and relatives to come over and share a musical talent