Local communities must work together to create a welcoming environment for every kind of person in their neighborhood. One particular group that everyone must support is senior citizens. Communities must be guided by empathy as they reach out to elderly adults and make sure their needs are met daily.
This does not have to be a complicated undertaking. Reaching out to the elderly in your neighborhood sometimes simply means making applicable programs and activities available to them. Think of ways to improve the quality of their lives as they live the latter part of their years.
Our suggestion is to harness the power of music in enriching the lives of senior citizens. Music is universally enjoyable, with a versatility that can tackle areas of concern for many older people. Consider these benefits as you plan your community activities geared for seniors,
How Playing Instruments Helps the Mind
Senior citizens can benefit much from learning how to play an instrument. A way to assist them is to help them enroll in piano lessons to help stimulate their minds.
Improving Hand-Eye Coordination
Gradually becoming less alert is a natural part of the aging process. This affects hand-eye coordination and may need some training later in life. It poses its own dangers, as being unable to react quickly to slipping or other accidents may cause injuries.
Since hand-eye coordination is important for everyday activities, it is good to employ creative activities that are both helpful and enjoyable. This way, seniors train themselves and get to make happy memories as they go through their tutorials.
Improving Cognitive Functions and Memory
Studying an instrument requires several motor functions. That is because playing an instrument also means learning how to read sheet music and simultaneously reading and playing.
A 2013 study on the effects of music and piano playing on older adults showed that the multi-sensory involvement needed in it improved cognitive functions and their mood and quality of life. Playing the piano helped in alleviating depression and fostering better moods.
Besides helping cognitive functions, music is also attached to various memories from different points in our lives. Playing and listening to music helps older adults recall experiences from their younger years, helping sharpen their memory.
Encouraging Creativity and Relaxation
Music provides a medium of communication and an outlet for adults who may have trouble with this as they have aged. Playing music can be an effective encouragement to seniors because it provides an opportunity for enjoyment without being too physically taxing.
Music also has a unique effect on the bodies of people in general. A faster, more upbeat tune makes one want to be active and move. A slower tempo, on the other hand, is more relaxing.
Through music, senior citizens can relieve stress and experience good rest. According to the University of Nevada, Reno, music at 60 beats per minute induces relaxation, promoting better sleep.
How Dancing Helps Seniors
Assisting them with music lessons is not the only way to support the seniors in your community. Group activities such as dancing also present their own benefits.
Encouraging Physical Fitness
The most obvious benefit of dancing is that it promotes regular exercise among older adults. While the usual activities such as walking and doing stretches can be monotonous, dancing provides a unique motivation to keep an active lifestyle. This enjoyment can be further emphasized through the use of music that brings nostalgia to the participants.
Similar to music lessons, dancing also promotes improved motor skills. Through regular practice, seniors can improve coordination and alertness in their everyday routine.
Building a Sense of Community
Dancing is good and healthy, but dancing with a group is much better. Group activities fight off feelings of isolation that usually come as someone ages. By introducing them to a community of their own, senior citizens interact and have fun with fellow seniors.
Local communities can use dancing to help make better connections among seniors and relate better with them. Dancing provides a non-intimidating form of interaction that makes forming new relationships easier and simpler.
Forming a pool of volunteers to assist seniors in your local community is in itself a big step towards helping improve the quality of their lives. By being a volunteer, you can help develop programs geared towards supporting them, especially those who have no children or family who can take care of them during this stage in their lives.