Back in 2011, Paul McCartney released an album of music called Kisses On The Bottom. Largely comprised of old standards he grew up listening to during his childhood, there is one tune that stands out for me this time of year when the days are shorter and the nights get cold, and that’s Paul’s rendition of the old Johnny Mercer classic, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”.
Since we all need to find ways to chase those mid-winter blues away, the song offers a cheery reminder on the power of positive thinking:
…Settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewing
The attitude of doing right
You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
E-lim-i-nate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with mister in between
You got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Crank up the tunes!
When it comes to music, it’s not just the lyrics that can motivate us, it’s the tune and how we respond to it. For many, the dreary mid-winter months are often difficult. Listening to your favorite music is a proven remedy for elevating your mood when you are down in the doldrums.
In a recent Zoomer magazine article, Carolyn Abraham reports that there’s an ever-growing stack of research extolling the virtues of music as therapy for a wide variety of medical conditions. “Music can help stroke victims regain their speech and steady the gait of someone with Parkinson’s.” Equally astounding, studies illustrate that music has the power to reduce seizures for persons with epilepsy, and, “lessen the need for painkillers and alleviate the symptoms of depression, anxiety and the fog of dementia, even in late stages.”
Just as exercise, a proper diet and social interaction are vital components of a healthy lifestyle, a daily dose of pleasing playlists can go a long way toward enhancing overall health and wellness. Listening to music can lower your blood pressure and boost serotonin levels — that’s the “happy” neurochemical known for not only putting us into a good mood, but also aiding digestion, improving memory, learning new skills and improving our sleep.
But wait, there’s more!
A 2019 study conducted by researchers at the University of Lyon in France demonstrated that listening to music you love will make your brain release more dopamine. Like serotonin, dopamine is also a brain-boosting neurotransmitter. Dopamine triggers feelings of pleasure and scientific literature also demonstrates that dopamine is directly linked to regulating cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning.
So, the science backs up what we have all known for a long time – music motivates! Music can help improve our mood and put pep in our step. When it comes to quality of life for seniors and aging at home, we may not always consider the important role that music can play.
There’s a fun scene in the John Cusack film High Fidelity where the lead character (played by Cusack) decides to reorganize his record collection autobiographically. Looking at the album covers and listening to the songs transports him to a nostalgic past when the songs on those records provided the soundtrack to his life at the time. It’s so true!
Let’s travel back in time. Was there not song or two that you connected with in every part of your life? Those melodies left a life-long imprint in our brain that doesn’t go away as we age. While we may struggle with remembering high school algebra, remembering the words to almost every Beatles song is easy-peasy! Music has this amazing superpower to break through blocks in our memory banks and transport us back instantly to where we were, what we were doing and who we were with when those songs ruled the airwaves.
Music is good medicine. By incorporating music into daily routines, seniors can boost their mood and quality of life. Consider adding some motivational melodies when your aging loved one is:
With modern technology, accessing your favorite music at home or on the go is easier than ever. There are dozens of music subscription services and with smart-home voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google, listening to the radio or playing your favourite song is as easy as saying, “Hey Google, play Buddy Holly.” (At Golden Harmony – we love helping seniors get their tech set-up so they can be worry free to listen to music or keep up with their loved ones on social media).
The positive role that music can play in seniors’ lives is astounding! Whether you’re a little bit country, or a little bit rock & roll, infusing music into everyday life is one easy box to check off to ensure that the senior in your life is Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ating the Positive!
Many seniors choose to remain in the home as they age and sometimes, they need extra assistance. If this describes you or a loved one and think you could benefit from a trusted companion to assist with the details of life that can interfere with remaining independent, click the button below to contact us and get started.
Music Around Town
Seeing live music gets you out of the house and is a great way to receive the wonderful health benefits music brings to our lives.
Here are some handy local resources to learn about upcoming free or inexpensive musical events in the Raleigh area: