The Magic of Music in Senior Living
Over the past 15 years neurologists have proven clinically what we all know instinctively, that music can have powerful benefits for our neurological, physical and emotional health. For decades, certified music therapists have used active music making and passive music listening as tools to improve the health and wellness of seniors, especially those with dementia, as they age. Active music making has been shown to elevate mood, decrease agitation, reduce wandering and improve socialization.
The Therapeutic Effects of Singing in Neurological Disorders
Using advanced MRI technologies, Dr. Gottfried Schlaug at Harvard Medical School and other researchers are looking at what happens inside our brains when we undergo intensive singing therapies. Among other insights, Schlaug has found that by combining singing and rhythmic activities he can increase the mass of the Broca’s area of the brain, resulting in the acquisition or reacquisition of speech for nonverbal people on the autism spectrum and stroke survivors.
Singing as an Intervention for Dementia Provides More Benefits Than Music Listening
A fourth month study at George Mason University shows that while passive music listening provides some therapeutic benefits for people with dementia, active singing produces even better results in terms of improvements in memory, cogitation and mood.
According to Eric Taub, in his article published in Senior Housing Business, music is a major part of our lives. We hear it everywhere: at home, the ballpark, the supermarket, the gym, and the elevator. It excites, soothes, helps us sleep, and occasionally irritates. Music permeates assisted living and skilled nursing facilities as well. Enter the lobby and you’re likely to hear pleasant, anodyne music piped into the area. Many communities regularly bring in musicians to entertain residents by performing show tunes or popular song standards. Yet music can do so much more than just entertain. Many assisted living and skilled nursing facilities are integrating music into residents’ daily lives not only as a diversion, but also as a tool that can radically change an individual’s physical health and mental well-being.
Yet, with only 6,000 certified music therapists in the U.S. however, music as medicine has proven costly and difficult to scale. Enter technology. Now those caring for seniors have choices when it comes to programs and applications that can effectively scale music as medicine. SingFit PRIME is a music therapist designed cognitive and physical stimulation program that incorporates singing, movement, trivia and reminiscence for a fully engaging mind/body workout. SingFit PRIME is powered by a one of a kind mobile app that digitizes the evidenced based speech therapy technique of Lyric Cuing to make a fully immersive, social singing experience possible at a low cost on a regular basis to achieve therapeutic goals. SingFit believes that even greater outcomes can be achieved through an active program that encourages users to become involved not only by listening, but also by joining in. “Singing is a whole-brain workout,” said SingFit co-founder Andy Tubman, himself a trained music therapist. “It improves people’s timing, memory and physical condition.” There are so many benefits of music as medicine for seniors.
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