Music Activities for Seniors in Nursing Homes


By DJ Hughes

Music activities for seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities can help their emotional and psychological needs. Music, songs, singing and playing instruments all contribute to creative expression and stimulation, as well as group participation. Seniors in geriatric and palliative care can benefit from a vibrant music program. Alzheimer's and other dementia are conditions with affects at least partially alleviated with music activities for seniors.

Music can be a good therapeutic tool. There comes a time when the physical needs of the elderly are not enough. They need to be kept entertained and stimulated. A program with music activities for seniors will enable them to be creative, expressive and more communicative. This contributes to a healthier sense of well being, thereby helping to dispel depression, loneliness and frustration. Music used for these purposes can and should include their preferences. But using their less preferred choices as experimental options to explore music, sound, vibration, and instruments can stir excitement and joy from the unexpected and previously unexplored. Provide a wide variety of music so that the residents can get a rich musical experience.

In some instances music activities for seniors has been able to reduce the fear of transitioning to a new home and surroundings. When people are first admitted to care facilities, there is a sense of fear and anxiety. Seniors fear losing control over aspects of their life and losing privacy, as well as other freedoms. Music and musical activities can enable them to adjust gradually to the realities of the situation. Music therapy sessions can remove the sense of isolation. When clients or residents are encouraged to participate in sing alongs and music making sessions they can feel like more a part of something pleasurable, relaxing, and even fun.

Singing old and familiar tunes from their youth or just many years ago, with others that remember them well too, can be an unexpected pleasure. Many elderly people haven't sung songs at all in many years. What fun they have to sing them again and remember all the lyrics.

Some people begin to really appreciate music when they are immobile. That is why the music activities for seniors in nursing homes and adult day facilities have been very successful. People can learn to play different instruments. Many elderly people haven't sung familiar songs like hymns in years, and would find this to be a thrill. If singing hymns in church is something they did regularly before entering a facility, it can help to give them peace to be able to continue this practice.

Music Activities Helps Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's patients can also be helped with music. In his speech during the Mini-Conference on Aging and Music Therapy, The AoA Grant Project Director of Colorado State University, Michael Thaut has said that "The results of this [music therapy] study impact neurological rehabilitation because they demonstrate that particular elements of music have a specific effect on motor systems. After three weeks, the patients with Parkinson's disease demonstrated longer stride length and improved gait velocity by an average of 25 per cent. These data validate the effectiveness of auditory rhythm to improve gait through the rhythmic coupling of auditory and motor systems."

In addition to playing instruments to create music other music activities for seniors in nursing homes should include singing along to songs, and some elderly people with good mobility may also enjoy dancing. This is another good music activity for seniors that allows for some creative self expression. The movement is good and healthy for exercise and can add another element to music enjoyment.

Written by DJ Hughes of Nursing Home Activities Resource. We provide information for caregivers and activity directors to help them improve the quality of life for the seniors in their care, with activities that entertain, stimulate, are therapeutic, promote interaction and health. New activities are being added all the time. If you would like to know more about music activities for seniors in nursing homes, please visit our site.


1 Response

  1. Caring for Aging Parents
    Music therapy is wonderful! I have worked with several clients who looked forward to each music session at their assisted living facility. During the sessions they had more energy, were smiling more and having fun! It is also a great time to work on mobility and balance if they're safe on their feet and can dance - or wheelchair dancing is great too. Kevin

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