Elderly Music - Music To Soothe The Soul
All of us have memories of popular music and hit tunes as we were growing up, whether it was Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Gene Autry, Eddie Arnold, Elvis Presley or The Beatles.
Every generation had its favorite musicians and bands and for many, music gave us the ability to get through difficult times.
Music has always been used to soothe the battered soul, to provide comfort, distraction, and entertainment.
In many cases, music can be therapeutic and help keep the brain cells stimulated and active. Playing music while completing household tasks such as cooking, or while engaging in physical therapy or other activities often uplifts the spirit and brings a smile.
What kind of music do your parents like? Ask them. If you can't ask them, try asking any friends or relatives about elderly music, or better yet, go on a treasure hunt through their attic or basement looking for clues.
Keep in mind that just because your elderly parent experienced his or her young adult years during the 1940s doesn't mean they're going to be big fans of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, or the Andrews Sisters. Classical music is a favorite among young and old alike, but don't assume that just because a person is elderly that he or she will prefer the classics over something a bit more lively.
Also remember that some music may evoke unpleasant memories or periods in your parent's life. The 1940s brought the devastation of World War Two, while the 50s brought Korea and the 60s brought with it a decade of uncertainty including social upheaval, Vietnam, and politically motivated assassinations.
Chances are adult children will be somewhat familiar with the type of music their parent's enjoyed listening to as they were growing up. Memories of Les Brown, Billie Holiday, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter and Bing Crosby, Perry Como or Doris Day might be very familiar.
Keep in mind that your elderly parent may also prefer more modern music, such as that from Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, The Beatles, Elton John, John Denver and other favorite singers and groups from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. When in doubt, ask!
If the elderly parent has difficulty communicating, try taking a selection of music to play softly in the background while visiting or providing care to determine their preferences.
Facial expressions are more than adequate to indicate whether someone likes or dislikes various pieces of music. Experiment with jazz, classical, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and movie soundtracks. Try out perennial favorites like Mozart or Andrew Lloyd Webber to The Kingston Trio, Bessie Smith or Billie Holliday to Louis Armstrong. The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry ruled early 50s, and eventually gave way to Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and Berry White or yes, the Big Hair bands and even Disco!
Music as therapy has been researched for years, but studies have shown extremely beneficial applications of music therapy activities, or at the very least music being played during activities, especially among those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Studies performed on Alzheimer's patients and the benefits of elderly music therapy activities resulted in individuals testing higher in cognitive ability after exposure to a variety of music. The use of music may also help treat elderly diagnosed with aphasia, or difficulty speaking. Playing music with lyrics and then encouraging the patient to repeat the sounds and words is an interactive and pleasant way to encourage and engage in speech therapy.
The use of music therapy or elderly music may help provide a calming influence over residents in geriatric or long-term care centers, as well as for use in calming and soothing agitation in patients diagnosed with degenerative and cognitive brain issues. A greater sense of well being is often expressed by the elderly, as is enhanced social connections with others.
Playing elderly music softly in the background while activities such as bingo, cards, exercise or crafts are engaged provides a homey, comfortable atmosphere for the elderly. Playing movie soundtracks such as those from South Pacific, The Sound Of Music, Guys And Dolls, or My Fair Lady are perennial favorites. Additional benefits of music are reduced incidents of fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Many elderly enjoy listening to compilations of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Nat King Cole, but just as many like more modern music such as that offered by the Beach Boys or the King himself, Elvis. Play It!
Don't hesitate to try music therapy or elderly music during all kinds of activities engaged by an aging parent. Elderly music can encourage pleasant memories, movement, and enjoyment. Music can also help the elderly share their feelings with others, stimulate them to move, and provide them with an overall sense of comfort in a variety of circumstances and situations.