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Music & Aging: The Benefits of Music Therapy

A song can change your mood in an instant. With the right beat, music can cheer you up, calm your nerves or help you recall a memory long forgotten. And the results for senior citizens are no different. Music therapy has long been thought to be a realistic tool for seniors with cognitive and memory disorders, such as dementia, and may extend benefits as far as helping with fall risk by improving gait. And now, Dan Cohen, the founder of a program called “Music and Memory” is aiming to expand the scale of music therapy by introducing “iPod therapy” in senior residential facilities.

In Cohen’s model, seniors are equipped with iPods filled in playlists based on their condition and music therapy theory. Different rhythms, beats and old favorites are combined to help improve mood, memory and overall wellbeing. While seniors choosing to age in place are in their homes rather than a residential facility, the presence of music may still prove to have a positive effect on seniors.

Incorporating Music Into Homecare

Homecare software and homecare systems, such as ClearCare, can offer innovative opportunities for homecare providers to incorporate music into their services. For example, during an initial assessment, homecare providers may discuss any interest in music with family caregivers and new clients, keeping notes of favorite tunes stored within the homecare software and homecare systems, where they can be easily accessed by caregivers in the field.

These tunes can then be used by in-home care aides during tasks, as outlines in an agency’s homecare software. For example, the task “Stretching Exercises” may be accompanied by a note within homecare systems, like ClearCare, to turn on music and see the favorite playlist within the client assessment. However, agencies choosing to put mobile devices, such as iPads in the field with caregivers, will also find that notes regarding music in homecare software or homecare systems can also easily be translated to playlists on a mobile device.

Caregivers can also take advantage of homecare software to note changes in mood or behavior when music is present. And when it’s time to take music therapy outside the home, administrators can work with family caregivers to schedule tasks within their homecare systems to attend outside music courses or therapy sessions at the local senior center or other nearby venue.

Music’s Endless Benefits
Full scale projects, like that of Dan Cohen, show that music may be just as effective of a tool as any medication kept in a bottle. And with the help of a robust homecare software, such as ClearCare, homecare agencies can help keep music at the forefront of a senior’s care plan and keep the beat going strong.


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