Whether you've never played an instrument before or you want to switch instruments and try something new, playing an instrument as a senior provides a wealth of benefits. Consider the following four benefits of learning an instrument as a senior.
According to a study by the University of California in Irvine, learning how to play a musical instrument helps exercise parts of the brain that are responsible for controlling depression, agitation and symptoms of dementia. By stimulating these areas by listening to classical music, Alzheimer patients have shown an improvement in memory scores, which may indicate music has an impact on cognitive decline.
Also, adults age 60 to 85 exhibited improved processing speeds and memory within just three months after taking piano lessons for 30 minutes each week. Most activities only exercise a few parts of the brain, but playing an instrument creates a flurry of activity throughout multiple areas in your brain, so your mind gets a true workout.
Regardless of your age, learning a new skill can be a fun and exciting experience. Not only does it provide personal satisfaction, but it also gives you a new hobby to pass the time, and in most cases, you can play the instrument in the comfort of your own home.
Learning how to play an instrument is an excellent way to connect with other music lovers of the same age. By taking lessons outside of the assisted living community, you can meet new people on your own terms. At first, your main interaction may be with your music teacher, but over time, you'll begin to meet other musicians who share a passion for playing your instrument or who appreciate your style of music.
Regardless of the instrument, playing music helps create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. As a result, seniors who pick up an instrument may experience lowered heart rates, regulated blood pressures and slower respiratory rates than those who do not. Also, playing music has been known to reduce stress and reverse the body's response to anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that just an hour of playing an instrument revealed a reversal of the hormonal stress response, and learning a new instrument can help build self-esteem, which can also reduce depression and anxiety.
For Parkinson's patients, the rhythmic cues and beats can help retrain the brain after a stroke or other neurological impairment and makes it possible for patients to move steadily.
At Hickory Villa assisted living community in Omaha, NE, we offer a variety of scheduled activities for seniors. If you learn to play a new instrument, we also have private dining rooms where you can perform for family and friends.