Is there a correlation between music and mood? You may already know that music can make us healthier. At any age – from babies to boomers to elderly. Get the amazing scoop on why music and Mozart beat the blues and mend the mind and immunity.
Did you know, for instance...
The Chair of Music Therapy at the University of Michigan, Frederick Tims, Ph.D. (who has also worked with Alzheimers projects at the U. of Miami) conducted a study on over 60 older retirees with varied marital status, gender and ethnicity.
It was called Music Making and Wellness project, and took place over two school semesters, each being 10-week sessions. The seniors specifically studied group keyboard lessons. Health measurements were taken before and after the study.
There was an effect on music and mood. And music and stress. The
results demonstrated that those who took the music lessons had
significantly improved scores in the areas of depression, anxiety and
loneliness. And these, then, improved stress levels, the immune system,
and overall health. (Music is always great to use in your
There have also been recent studies at the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel by researcher Dror Mandel and colleague Ronit Lubetzky, and published in the January issue of the Pediatrics journal.
The studies were conducted on premature babies who significantly calmed down after listened to Mozart. The calming effect decreased their expenditure of energy, which decreased their need for calories, which caused better weight gain and ability to thrive.
Music and mood is not the only factor. Music is known to decrease stress and heart rate, and increase the amount of important oxygen levels in blood.
But why Mozart? Mandel explains that Mozart melodies
are repetitive, including specific frequencies, and effect certain brain
centers. Previous Mozart studies in the 1990s with college students
resulted in improvement in performance for those who participated.
Whether Mozart, keyboard, or other types, music is a great way to bring a group together, and enhance gatherings and activities. And it cheers you up. Just about any ability level can participate in music, even those who may have other activity restrictions.
For instance, those who are severely hearing impaired can often still hear or sense beat. Drumming can be a satisfying alternative for them vs. traditional music. My father pointed out to me as his hearing decreased that although he could not hear many frequencies and sounds, he could “hear” beat.
Playing chimes the easy way -- It's a fantastic way of making music, plus having fun and socializing. It's soothing and satisfying. We had a guest writer share tips and ideas about how to create music the simple way, without having to read music, or practice, or have talent. One of our activity consultant friends has played chimes herself and says it's great either alone or with a group. Excellent for kids and families to do together too. See tips at Simple Elderly Music with Chines.
Music also encourages one of the funnest ways to exercise – dance! – even if just moving or tapping feet, or swaying arms from a chair. Sit-down dancing, as it is sometimes called.
Music is an excellent activity to include within other activities, such as parties, and can become part of the overall theme. And if you bring in professional dancers or kids’ dance groups to perform (especially anything lively) you can almost bet you’ll get participants rocking and tapping. Great way to mix music and mood.
For fun senior activity ideas -- Try a luau, a western theme, back to the ‘30s or ‘40s or ‘50s, a polka band, jazz fest, waltzing, anything that suits your group. And form a party or dinner around it, even if casual. Even have an all-out “prom” – very popular at any age. (See our page about great party theme ideas.) Get as many outside groups, bands, kids, performers to come as you can (in costume especially). Just the anticipation of a musical evening begins to lift the mood in advance.
So find ways to regularly get music going in your life and get grooving. Also perfect for those sluggish about exercise!
Be sure to also read:
Senior Activity Ideas -- A nice variety of senior activity ideas for those with more mobility or a higher ability level. Some great to do alone, or in groups. And with music!
Elderly Activities -- Have some fun! A wide range of activities, including for those who may need more help. Includes indoors, outdoors, games, food projects, crafts.
Creative Elderly Stress Activities -- Activities especially for those who are stressed (and not just for the elderly!) I really needed help with this for my Dad, so these are some of our favorites.
Elderly Games For Fun and Function -- Elderly games are excellent for exercising those “mental muscles” and stimulating memory, focus, cognitive skills, plus relieving stress and worry.