How Playing Music Helps People Living with Dementia Stay Active

September 16, 2020

Listening to music provides stimulation for your mind, your soul and your body. It can bring tremendous joy and happiness and help to maintain bonds with those you love.

Playing music is no different.

Playing music can help improve your memory and focus your attention, while also enhancing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills - all while having some creative fun.

Barry F 18 August 2020

Pictured above: Barry plays a melody he remembers from his youth.

Benefits of music

Residents at Mayflower are enjoying the sensory and practical benefits of music-making in our new sensory garden. The garden is purpose built for people living with dementia and offers an array of musical instruments to play and enjoy.

There are a range of specific benefits of playing music for seniors.

Research studies have found that music:

  • Helps lower blood pressure and stress levels
  • Decreases resting heart rate, increasing fitness levels
  • Reduces boredom and associated behaviours
  • Maintains fine and gross motor skills
  • Lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Boosts a sense of joy and fun
  • Maintains social skills

Making melodies in the great outdoors

Outdoor percussion musical instruments are designed to encourage people of all ages to participate in making music with others, and take advantage of the health benefits they can give you.

At Mayflower, our staff work with residents to harness the benefits of making melodies in our sensory garden. Our team enjoy spending one-on-one time with residents encouraging them to really engage with the instruments, while connecting and having fun playing tunes together and for each other.

Keeping fit while you play

Playing music in Mayflower’s sensory garden also doubles up as exercise. This is because the instruments are so much larger than you would normally find, requiring the musician to use their whole body, and adjust their arms and hands to suit each instrument.

The musician needs to constantly move to produce different sounds and rhythms as they play. The results of all that rhythm, dancing and motion are improved mobility and posture, a boost in energy, and maintained coordination and balance.

The most important result?

Each musician is having fun and living in the moment while you play!

Val MBH 28 August Crop

Pictured above: Val exercises both mind and body as she plays music for her audience, on a warm and sunny day in the courtyard.