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A Song and a Smile: The Health Benefits of Music for Seniors

Posted By Marilynh / June 13, 2018 / 0 Comments

YEI recently featured The Posh Club,
a nightclub for the elderly, in Hackney, on its Facebook page

The Posh Club gives its guests everything that is needed for human contentment: connection, laughter, and physical activity. The health benefits of those enjoying the music and dancing in this club are extraordinary. 



music and seniors



The exact nature of music’s effect on human beings is still being determined, a subject for scholarly study and laboratory experimentation. Many older adults acknowledge that music has a remarkable healing effect that can help overcome isolation, depression and help them cope with the symptoms of physical decay. Music has such a powerful impact that it’s often used in therapy for seniors and people who struggle with chronic mental health problems. In fact, music therapy has long been valued for its ability to help the elderly overcome problems associated with dementia and memory loss. It’s even been known to help older adults who’ve lost the capacity for verbal communication emerge from near-catatonic states after hearing an old and much-loved piece of music.


Mood enhancer

Studies have shown that music helps people feel better, producing physiological and emotional responses to pleasure-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, melatonin, serotonin and epinephrine. These chemicals benefit seniors in many ways: They help raise metabolic rates, improve sleep, boost memory and aid cognitive processing. Seniors who make music a part of their daily lives experience a greater sense of personal well-being and optimism about their lives, an important point considering that many elderly people live alone or have limited contact with their loved ones.





Encouraging social outreach

Feeling good means you’re more inclined to reach out and seek social interaction with others. Loneliness and isolation are serious health-related issues for many senior citizens in the United States and in other countries as well. The problem is so pressing in Britain that the government instituted a Ministry of Loneliness to establish programs aimed at helping elderly Britons find opportunities for socialization. Music can be a rallying point for elderly people who occupy the same age range because they identify with a particular song or genre of music that reminds them of their youth.


Stress relief

The same “feel-good” chemicals that music releases in the brain help reduce stress, depression, anxiety and lower blood pressure in seniors. And listening to music together or creating it as a group has a powerfully restorative effect on the brain. It’s an important benefit given the deleterious effect that stress has on the body. Stress contributes to memory loss and inhibits one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, which is essential to maintaining good health into old age. Stress also takes a serious toll on the heart and other organs. Music’s mood-enhancing influence is beneficial in that it makes you more enthusiastic about physical exercise and taking care of yourself.





Physical benefits

Seniors who play music often experience an improved use of their hands and fingers. Playing an instrument can alleviate pain caused by arthritis and various forms of joint inflammation. Older adults who live in senior facilities and assisted living communities get a good aerobic workout from dancing or exercising to music. Clapping along to music or playing a drum or handbells  has a deeply soothing effect on the brain, which responds instinctively to musical rhythms.


Music every day

Try incorporating music into your daily routine. Listen to it early in the morning to get your day off to a good start and as you go about your daily housework. If you can play an instrument or just enjoy drumming along to your favorite song, consider setting up a soundproof space in your home where you can have impromptu jam sessions.



Science has proven that music really does have healing powers. For seniors, it can mean the difference between a life of solitude and maintaining an active and upbeat lifestyle. It’s all about attitude, and music is an excellent way to improve your outlook.



South African organisations:


SA Seniors Fitness Association



Related Article: 

This nightclub for the elderly is fighting loneliness with tea party raves – click here



Article, courtesy of Karen Weeks, Elderwellness.net


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