Harnessing the Healing Power of Music

Whether one is trying to create a romantic mood, provide comfort in times of grief, or power through a workout, music has the ability to lift spirits, calm the busy mind, and ease anxiety.  Music has also been found to be a beneficial therapeutic approach to help people living with dementia that is safe, easy, and inexpensive. 

According to a recent McMaster Optimal Aging Portal post,  in addition to providing pleasure to the listener, music may also improve sleep quality, boost walking speeds and help calm older adults living with dementia.  For caregivers, having a strategy like using music to soothe evening agitation or sundowning common among dementia patients, can also help lower their stress levels. 

Getting enough quality sleep and exercise are important to mental, cognitive, and physical health.  Using music to unwind after a stressful day can help caregivers and older adults living with dementia achieve a better night’s sleep, without the risks of taking drugs that may have serious side effects.  Everything seems a bit more manageable the day after getting some much-needed rest. 

Studies have shown that music therapy can help older adults with dementia express and share their feelings, and in turn reduce anxiety among caregivers.  Music can bring back happy memories, boost mood and studies have found that music therapy can also help reduce pain and depression. 

Need some motivation to dig out after a big snowstorm?  Trying to walk a little faster or longer? Want to unwind without alcohol or medications? The right playlist can do wonders to help pick up your pace, finish a tedious task, or relax after a stressful day.  Bring on the tunes, but watch the volume isn’t too high, especially if using earbuds or headphones, hearing loss is can contribute to a greater incidence of isolation and dementia.