What’s your favorite song?
Whether it’s a golden oldie or new music, chances are, if it’s your favorite you know the lyrics by heart. You sing them on long car rides, in the shower, or when you’re having a good day. It turns out, these impromptu karaoke sessions are good for more than your vocal training.
Finnish researchers have found that singing may be a way to improve brain function, even in patients with early stage dementia. Singing improved the mood and the cognitive abilities of everyone in the study, especially those with early stage dementia.
Researchers studied the effects of music on the brain for 10 weeks, allowing seniors to sing their favorite tunes, hum music, and listen to tunes. Seniors with mild dementia showed improvement in memory, thinking skills, and their ability to get around. Those without dementia showed improved memory skills as well.
Singing also served as a mood elevator. Seniors who were encouraged to sing reported mood improvement and increases in optimism.
What does this mean for the seniors in your life?
It means it’s time to get musical.
If your loved one is having trouble with memory or mood, consider signing them up for a music class or a senior singing group. An activity with a musical theme is also an excellent idea for seniors with no memory problems, as it will help keep them sharp. If you can’t find a music-based activity, singing along may be the key to victory. Get your senior’s favorite music and arrange for an interactive concert. Afraid of sounding off-key? The study shows that even those who listen to music can reap the mental benefits.
Whether you’re hoping to keep your mind honed or simply interested in a sing along, music may be the key to keeping healthy in 2016.