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Music Activities for Seniors
Music for Seniors in Nursing Homes
Everyone can benefit from music activities in some capacity. Some can be effective music therapy. It has been found to be especially helpful to the elderly and seniors in geriatric care, palliative care and with Alzheimer's and other dementia.
Although music therapy is a specialized area for trained therapists, it doesn't take special training or musical background to apply music and musical elements for general benefit to seniors and the elderly patients in the many care facilities.
Since music for seniors has nonverbal qualities it can promote:
Different forms of music and music therapy activities are beneficial to elderly patients.
Music therapy for stress can dispel anxiety, tension and fear. Music therapy for depression can alleviate a sense of loneliness and isolation, especially in group sing alongs or musical participation activities.
Music activities and music therapy for elderly patients has garnered respect as a means of helping patients deal with the above conditions, but also grief, healing from surgeries, and overall health as well.
As a group activity sing along videos and DVD’s, or live music can really liven up the place. With singalong DVD's you may find many of your residents like to sing the traditional Christmas carols, or old hymns they grew up singing every Sunday in choir when they were younger. And there is always the classic oldies music that seniors will recall like "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" and "You Are My Sunshine".
Bring in musical instruments for the seniors to play themselves and make their own music or to accompany pre-recorded music or join in a live performance. There are many musicians that offer this service to seniors in nursing homes and there may be one (or a few) in your neighbourhood. Even if some of the seniors don't know how to play, it's never too late to learn the guitar.
There are so many possibilities. Some good instruments for the elderly would be triangles, xylophones, a piano, which you probably already have, bongos or other types of lightweight, laptop drums, bells, tambourine, sand blocks, egg shakers and many more.
Additionally, just a pleasant variety of music to play in the background can also be very helpful and aide in relaxation, peace and tranquility. Relaxation music may be harp music, guitar or piano music or any other that the patients themselves enjoy. Sometimes ethnic music can help those from forgotten homelands such as Celtic music for the Irish and Scottish, for example.
Other good choices for nursing home music activities may be whistling, or instrumentals such as harp, piano, or guitar as background music. Even simple nature sounds CD’s can give an atmosphere a tranquil and calmer mood with the sounds of birds or the roll of ocean waves.
Try a few different styles and see what incorporates best into your facilities programs and that your seniors enjoy the most.
Sing Along Songs for Music Therapy
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