Fall River Jewish Home

The Healing Harmony of Music for Older Adults

or most of us music is a form of self-expression and a method of channeling our emotions. Over the past few decades, music has quietly grown to be a valuable  therapy tool. In health care circles ranging from palliative care programs to senior living settings, you will now find music. For older adults, the music of their youth can lift the spirits of even those suffering from more advanced forms of dementia.

So what can you do to help bring these healing harmonies to an older adult you love? Here are a few suggestions for caregivers in Massachusetts:

  • If your loved one was part of their high school or neighborhood band, find out what instrument they played if you don’t already know. See if you can borrow that instrument or find a used one you can purchase inexpensively. Give it to them along with the sheet music from some of their favorite songs. You both may be surprised at how quickly they can pick up this old hobby again.
  • Have a conversation with your family member to find out what music was “theirs.” It might be songs from some of the movies of their youth or music they danced to during their dating years. Try to track that down so you can share it with them. You can even download it to an iPod to leave with them. If you don’t have an iPod you can leave with them, an organization called, Music & Memory may be able to help. They collect used iPods and donate them to residents of senior care communities.
  • Find out when local organizations are offering concerts you could attend with your loved one. Many malls, assisted living communities and local non-profits offer free concerts in public venues. Check out what might be available near you.
  • Rent some of the old Elvis Presley or Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello movies. Have a movie and dance marathon with your loved one. Almost everyone over the age of 70 is a fan of those old music-filled movies.

If you would like to learn more about music as a form of therapy, the Alive Inside documentary may be of interest to you. It explores how powerful the effect of music is on the elderly.

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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