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The late television host Dick Clark said that “Music is the soundtrack of your life.” Indeed, music is as old as humanity itself. Most anyone can relate to the rush of memories that comes back when listening to a favorite song, or the satisfaction in singing with a group or learning an instrument.
It may not come as a surprise that music has enormous benefits for people of all ages. At Friendship Village, we have our wonderful Friendship Village Choir. You may have heard about our resident John Hathway and the guitar singalongs he holds three times each week. We also have frequent professional entertainment.
The Elder Advisory Group cites several benefits of music for older adults. Interestingly, the benefits stretch from the mental (it’s great exercise for the brain) to the physical (it’s actually been shown to promote recovery from strokes). There’s the social connection, too. In a time when many are isolated, music can help create bonds around the simple act of listening to music together. The American Heart Association states that music during stroke rehabilitation sessions can enhance balance and strengthen while lessening depression.
Then there’s singing, which has a whole set of benefits itself. Most anyone who’s sung in the shower, in the church choir or as a group of carolers can relate. Singing reduces stress by reducing levels of the hormone cortisol, according to an article by Healthline.com. It also stimulates an immune response by increasing the secretion of the immunoglobin antibody. It too has physical benefits—all that deep breathing leads to strength in respiratory muscles and increased oxygen in the blood.
In addition, the 60-Plus Club has written about the benefits of learning a musical instrument over the age of 60. The article cites a study of individuals ages 60-85 who took individual piano lessons. There are a multitude of mental, physical and social benefits, whether learning piano or other instruments like drums, guitar, strings and woodwinds.
The evidence is clear that music has an impact—whether singing, playing an instrument or simply listening. Being in tune with music may mean being in tune with a healthier lifestyle, too.