The Power of Music Therapy for Older Adults

The Power of Music Therapy for Older Adults

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a clinically proven practice that uses music as a medium to help address & support the physical, emotional, cognitive & social needs of an individual. Sessions are ran by a trained therapist & will be tailored to the needs of the person undertaking it. Activities can involve listening to music, playing instruments, singing & composing unique pieces.

The Benefits of Music Therapy

Cognitive benefits

One of the most significant benefits of music therapy for older adults is its positive impact on cognitive function. Research has shown that engaging in music therapy can enhance memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. For individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, music therapy can help recall memories and improve communication.

  • Memory Enhancement: Music therapy can trigger memories and emotions from the past, helping to stimulate brain activity and improve memory recall. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with dementia, as familiar songs can evoke memories and provide a sense of continuity and identity .
  • Improved Attention and Focus: Engaging in musical activities can help improve concentration and attention span. This can be especially helpful for older adults who may experience cognitive decline or attention deficits .

Emotional benefits

Music therapy has great emotional benefits, promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and enhancing mood. Music has the power to evoke emotions, providing a safe outlet for expression and helping to process complex feelings.

  • Mood Enhancement: Listening to and creating music can significantly boost mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. The rhythmic and repetitive aspects of music can provide a sense of comfort and stability .
  • Stress Reduction: Music therapy can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. The soothing qualities of music can help lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and create a calming effect on the mind and body .

Social benefits

Music therapy also offers social benefits by encouraging interaction and socialization. Group music therapy sessions provide opportunities for older adults to connect with others, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation

  • Enhanced Social Interaction: Participating in group music therapy sessions can help build connections with others, fostering a sense of community and belonging. Singing in a group or playing instruments together can create shared experiences and strengthen social bonds .
  • Improved Communication: Music therapy can improve verbal and non-verbal communication skills, making it easier for older adults to express themselves and interact with others. This is especially beneficial for individuals with speech or language impairments .

Physical benefits

Engaging in music therapy can also have positive effects on physical health. Playing instruments, dancing, or even simple movements to the rhythm of music can improve motor skills and coordination.

  • Enhanced Motor Skills: Playing musical instruments or engaging in rhythmic movement can improve fine and gross motor skills. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults with arthritis or other mobility issues .
  • Pain Management: Music therapy can help manage chronic pain by diverting attention away from the pain and providing a source of comfort and relaxation .

How Music Therapy Works

A certified music therapist conducts a thorough assessment to determine the individual’s needs, preferences, and goals. Based on this assessment, a personalized music therapy plan is created. Sessions can be conducted individually or in groups and may involve various musical activities, including:

  • Listening to Music: Playing pre-recorded or live music tailored to the individual’s preferences and therapeutic goals.
  • Singing: Encouraging individuals to sing along with familiar songs to promote memory recall and vocalization.
  • Playing Instruments: Using instruments like drums, tambourines, or keyboards to engage motor skills and coordination.
  • Songwriting and Composition: Encouraging individuals to create their own music or lyrics, providing a creative outlet for self-expression.

Find Music Therapy Courses

The British Association for Music Therapy offers a very handy find a therapist tool that will allow for you to search your local area for a music therapist. All you need to do it put in your postcode & it will check the surrounding area for a qualified music therapist.


Music therapy offers a holistic approach to enhancing the well-being of older adults. By addressing cognitive, emotional, social, and physical needs, music therapy can significantly improve the quality of life for seniors. Whether dealing with cognitive decline, emotional challenges, or physical limitations, music therapy provides a versatile and effective means of support.

At Senior Stairlifts, we understand the importance of holistic care for older adults. While we specialize in providing mobility solutions to enhance physical independence, we also recognize the value of therapies like music therapy in promoting overall well-being. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you or your loved one maintain independence and quality of life.


  1. Alzheimer’s Society
  2. NHS
  3. British Association for Music Therapy
  4. Help Musicians UK
  5. Age UK
  6. Dementia UK
  7. Mind