Can the power of music enhance your wellbeing and memory as you age? Most people can name at least one artist or song that evokes an emotional response, reminding them of a significant moment in their life. Our response to music is often visceral, so you may have a physical or emotional response before you understand what memory it triggers. However, is this effect helpful to our cognitive and physical wellbeing? The answer is a resounding yes.
When US social worker, Dan Cohen, brought his captivating initiative to Australia’s Arts Health Institute, he worked with patients with chronic cognitive and physical impairment with outstanding results. In some cases, patients with dementia responded to personalised music playlists through singing and movement, creating brief moments of reconnection with loved ones. The music awakens part of the brain not impacted by dementia and can even cause positive changes in mood lasting several hours.
Music can profoundly influence your health, happiness and wellbeing at any age. Whether it be a toddler dancing to their favourite song, or a retirement community enjoying songs of a bygone era, the benefits are the same:
Reduce your stress levels – Whilst small amounts of stress are a normal part of life, some seniors experience overwhelming stress and tension. Listening to music has been shown to reduce high heart rates and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, helping you to relax.
Improve your cognitive ability – Music therapy improves cognitive ability in older adults, with rhythmic music stimulating certain areas of your brain to increase blood flow.
Get social – Music and theatre bring people together for a shared experience. By connecting with other people in their community, older adults can make new friends and alleviate any feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Inspire movement – Playing music motivates you to get moving, whether you’re tapping your feet, clapping your hands or dancing.
A wonderful opportunity for seniors to embrace the healing magic of music with a friend or a group is the Daytime Music + Theatre shows presented throughout the year at Frankston Arts Centre. With daytime tributes to Broadway legends, performances by Australian music theatre stars, and productions featuring hit songs from the war eras, there is something for everyone. Tickets start at just $19 and include light refreshments before the show – the perfect opportunity to experience all the benefits of the healing power of music for yourself!
Daytime Music + Theatre
Frankston Arts Centre
Bookings: 03 9784 1060 or thefac.com.au
The Broadway I Love – Friday 20 May, 10.30am & 1.30pm
Salute to the Anzacs – Friday 24 April, 10.30am & 1.30pm
The Sounds of Rodgers & Hammerstein – Friday 15 May, 10.30am & 1.30pm
The Australian Ballet School – Wednesday 3 June, 1.30pm & 6pm
Christmas in July – Friday 3 July, 10.30am & 1.30pm