Can Music Boost Memory?

A song. A time. A place. We all of a special song that seems to have the ability to transport us to different time in our life, or flood us with emotions. What is it about music that affects our brains unlike anything else? And can music boost memory?

Can Music Boost Memory?

Memory is an all too fleeting thing as we age. It usually starts out simply – as simple as “where did I leave my keys?” We will all experience some memory issues as we age, to what degree has a lot to do with our brains and how we process – not all of which is completely understood by science.

Recent studies have shown that musical activity can help with cognitive abilities in all stages of life. In older adults, music can be a useful intervention to promote and enhance memory. There are multiple reasons why music helps our memory – from eliciting emotions that can help compensate for deficits to activating a part of brain that is less affected by common memory issues.

The simple answer to “can music boost memory” is YES! And it might not take much. Some studies suggest that listening to music for two to three weeks can have benefits to your memory. The key seems to be in continuous use. You reap the benefits when you listen, but you have to keep listening regularly and keep listening!

Music and Dementia

Music does have an influence on our memory, and may help with advanced memory issues like dementia. With the onset of dementia comes damage to the language and visual areas of the brain. Music, however, can tap into the salience network of the brain. This part of the brain is often left untouched by the damage of dementia.  Thus, music is transcendent to our brains and to us!

Science is still working on the details, but it seems that activating different parts of the brain, say with music, offers opportunities to delay the continued decline experienced by those with dementia. Music that is meaningful to the dementia suffer has also shown to be an alternative route for them to communicate.

Other Ways Music Can Help Us  

Music is extremely powerful. In fact, listening to music that you enjoy has been shown to release dopamine in the brain – a biological chemical that elevates mood.

While there are numerous benefits from listening to music, here are some powerful benefits we can all take advantage of:

Reduces Stress

Listening to calming music with slow tempo has been shown to reduce anxiety. It lowers our pulse and heart rate, thus reducing blood pressure. This reduction in blood pressure helps to level out our bodies production of the stress hormone. Less stress equals a happier version of YOU!

Improves Exercise Engagement

While slower tempo music can help us relax, faster paced music can help us get in our workout groove. Music has shown to increase a participants output when exercising by inspiring them to go longer or harder. Meaning that when our jam is on, we tend to go farther and go faster with less perceived effort.

Improves Mood

Listening to uplifting, happy music has been shown to improve moods. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology,  people who listened to upbeat music improved their mood and boosted happiness in as little as two weeks.

If you are a senior or a caregiver to a senior, there’s no doubt, and no harm, in adding in some music to your daily routine. And There are multiple strategies for getting more music into your life. These are great times to add some music to the mix:

  • preparing for the day ahead
  • exercising
  • doing light housework or cooking a meal
  • entertaining friends and/or family
  • recounting older memories

At Senior LIFE – We Hear You

The Senior LIFE Program is designed around you and your needs. Our team of dedicated medical professionals – including doctors, nurses, homecare coordinators, physical therapists and more – are committed to creating a care plan that is tailored to your medical needs.

Senior LIFE services include physicians and specialists, nursing care, physical, occupational and speech therapies, personal and home care, medications, meals and nutritional counseling, eye, dental and foot care, durable medical equipment and other medically necessary services.

The LIFE Program is a Medicare and Medicaid approved long-term care program that provides complete medical care and supportive services for persons 55 years and older so that they can remain living in their home. The LIFE Program is an alternative to nursing and personal care homes. 

To enroll in Senior LIFE, seniors must be 55 years or older, live in the service area, qualify for a nursing home level of care, and be able to live safely in the community.  Applying is free, and there is no obligation to enroll. To learn more about the LIFE Program, or to see if it’s the right fit for you and your loved ones, contact us today!

Senior LIFE is a Medicare Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) operating as a LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) program in the state of Pennsylvania.

Last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 02:10 pm

Categories: Wellness Matters