Part 1: Music Hath Charms: The Surprising Health Benefits of Music for Seniors
From the minute we’re born, music plays an instrumental part in our lives. From lullabies to birthday parties, from school concerts to Friday-night cruising, to choosing that special “first song” at your wedding and beyond, we each construct a unique soundtrack that can instantly cheer us, touch our hearts and bring us together.
That’s not just emotions talking– it’s science. There’s a phenomenon known as “entrainment,” which is when an individual’s biological rhythms are synced with the music they’re hearing. It’s such a strong biological phenomenon that just listening to soothing music can help a person relax, de-stress and even mentally and physically process everything from emotions to medications.
“Music is one of those things that brings everyone together, no matter how young or old we are,” says Christopher Skiff, Owner of The Manse on Marsh, an independent living and assisted living community offering short-term stays and palliative care in San Luis Obispo, CA. “It also has such power to us both mentally and emotionally. I’ve seen individuals with memory loss start dancing to a familiar beat or even singing along with a favorite song. It’s a beautiful thing. But most of all, it’s fun for everyone. That’s why our weekly music therapy session at The Manse is so well-attended, because it’s something all our residents can enjoy.”
Symphonic music, particularly, has proven time and time again to be soothing, relaxing and peaceful for older adults. In fact, it’s been shown to sometimes be more effective than medication! German researchers found that individuals recovering from major surgery had significantly lower stress levels after listening to classical music. Classical music was also, in some cases, much more effective to inducing relaxation than common anti-anxiety medications.
The American Society of Hypertension lists several major health benefits that classical music has on seniors, including:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Quicker recovery following a stroke
- A boost in immunity
- Pain relief
- Improved physical performance
- Better sleep
While appreciation for classical music is accessible to people of all ages, seniors attend orchestral performances at a much higher number, probably because they grew up with classical music playing in their households. Attending a symphony performance is also an excellent social activity, allowing people to meet up with friends as well as experience an enjoyable concert.
To make quality music more personal and accessible to our residents, The Manse on Marsh will be hosting an afternoon high tea event on June 11 at 3:00 p.m. Our special guest performer will be Jennifer Martin, Director of the San Luis Obispo Winds Orchestra. Ms. Martin is an exceptionally gifted conductor with a wide variety of experience conducting ensembles, high school bands, orchestras, musical theatre productions and honor groups in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. She will entertain our guests with her special musical talent as a concert guitarist, sharing her unique talent of performing fingerstyle acoustic melodies.
We welcome all members of the community to attend this special upcoming event and enjoy fun, fellowship and a lively conversation.
Please visit The Manse on Marsh website https://www.themanse.net for more information on our special events and how we celebrate seniors at our community.