An estimated 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This number is projected to more than double by 2050. Worldwide, an estimated 54 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (2022 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures). These numbers are staggering, and there’s currently no straightforward cure, but there are ways to combat decline, slow degeneration, and improve quality of life.
At Bridgetown Music Therapy, our main focus is the modality of music to improve a person’s wellbeing. Music can engage and positively affect individuals cognitively, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially and more. This can lead to outcomes such as partially or temporarily restoring language and communication, sparking memories, and reducing stress or anxiety. Music is not the only way to engage a person and enrich their life though. Many other engaging activities and therapies exist that...
Deep breathing has many physical and mental health benefits for older adults. For example, it can lower heart rate and blood pressure. It can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also increase energy levels, improve mental focus, and lead to better sleep. Not to mention deep breathing helps get more oxygen to the brain which positively affects all kinds of functions in the body. This is why it’s so important for older adults to practice deep breathing every single day.
Deep breathing is focused and intentional breathing. It’s sometimes referred to as abdominal breathing, belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing. It’s such a simple practice, why do we so often forget to do it? Deep breathing is like a short cut to release stress as well as improve our physical and mental well-being. According to verywellmind.com, “deep slow breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the ‘rest and digest’ system. It also...
Did you know that music activates every area of the brain?
It's true, scientific researchers have observed that listening to music and engagement in music-based activities affects all areas of the brain. Music activates the feel-good centers of the brain, and it can even help seniors create new neural connections in their brains, which are reasons why music can be so beneficial for people with dementia.
Music is a natural motivator.
Because music can do all kinds of cool things for the brain and body, it makes the perfect tool for engaging individuals with dementia. A few examples: unlocking their past memories, improving mood, increasing energy levels, and promoting relaxation. Singing has amazing benefits such as relieving stress, boosting the immune system, providing comfort, promoting expressive communication and improving lung capacity.
The benefits of music are abundant and far-reaching.
Music can uniquely touch the lives of people living with disease,...
Do you, your loved one or care community own any instruments?
Instrument play is fun and can provide opportunities for playfulness and self-expression as well as physical movement. Playing small percussion instruments for example can target various physical and cognitive goals by addressing fine and gross motor movement, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination, rhythmic entrainment, visual tracking, body and spatial awareness, and visual or auditory cues.
Small percussion instruments like maracas are generally easy to pick up and play without any previous knowledge or experience. Don’t worry about sounding good or playing correctly. You don’t necessarily need to know how to play. Start by exploring the instrument and see what sounds you can make.
If you'd like to get some instruments for your care home or particular setting, I recommend West Music - they have a huge selection of quality instruments at reasonable prices. Some of our...
Did you know the activity of singing has a ton of benefits? In many ways, singing is similar to exercise. It’s an aerobic activity, so it gets more oxygen into the blood resulting in better circulation which can lead to improved mood. Singing causes the release of endorphins, which give us that wonderful “lifted” feeling often resulting in stress relief. Also, because singing requires deep breathing, a natural outcome is often reduced anxiety.
Here are 10 amazing benefits of singing:
I LOVE to sing, and I love to help get the older adults you care for singing too. That’s why 80% of our music program for seniors is focused on singing!
Music is good for the mind, body and soul! At Bridgetown Music Therapy, we...
We’re honored to have been a guest on several podcasts over this past year. If you’re curious to find out about these amazing shows or listen specifically to the episodes we were interviewed on, you can find them highlighted below.
The Aging Today podcast is sponsored by ComForCare West Linn. This show will help you “create better days throughout the aging process, connect with professional advice on the subject of aging in place, and learn about proactive aging in the right place with a choice.” I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing with host Mark Turnbull. We’ll be on the show again mid-December to do a special episode called “Christmas in Song.” Stay tuned!
You can listen to the August 30, 2021 episode, “Music as Therapy,” here.
In September, All Home Care Matters invited us back on their show. In this episode, we shared more about our online music program for seniors and even provided a 20-minute demo...
Music engagement for older adults is important because it can help improve overall quality of life, especially for people living with dementia, disease, disability, a lack of social connection, and other concerns. Music-based activities, such as singing, movement to music and instrument play can benefit and enrich participants' lives in many ways such as:
Active and engaging music experiences can boost health by enhancing a person’s cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being. Participation in music activities has many benefits, often producing amazing outcomes, which can include:
In August, we had the pleasure of being a guest on the All Home Care Matters podcast and YouTube channel. All Home Care Matters features resources, tips, and discussion on important age-related topics to help families navigate long-term care matters. Their YouTube channel has an extensive collection of videos which provides all kinds of information to family caregivers and answers to commonly-asked questions. In my interview with them, I shared about the power of music and how music therapy can be utilized in senior care. If you’d like to watch it, click here.
If you and your loved one enjoy music, but you’re unsure how to utilize it as a meaningful activity at home, we've got some ideas for you! Music is a wonderful tool for connection and engagement. Think of it like a vitamin—a little bit everyday does wonders to nourish the heart, body, mind and soul. Music can be a daily activity for you and your loved one.
1. Sing – Even if you don’t consider yourself as a “singer,” we each have a voice and can use it to sing. Did you know the activity of singing has a ton of benefits? In many ways, singing is similar to exercise. It’s an aerobic activity, so it gets more oxygen into the blood leading to better circulation which can cause improved mood. Singing causes the release of endorphins, which give us that wonderful “lifted” feeling often resulting in stress relief. Also, because singing requires deep breathing, a natural result is often reduced anxiety.
It's as simple as turning on a song...