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Harmonious Healing: Benefits of Music Therapy for SeniorsFebruary 6, 2024 | Tiffany Wyndham Hunt, MA, MT-BC, Music Therapist Board CertifiedAs we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes, and maintaining a good quality of life can become a challenge. In this pursuit of well-being, music therapy for seniors has emerged as a powerful and uplifting tool. Beyond being a source of joy and entertainment, music therapy has proven to offer physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for supporting quality of life.Music Therapy ExplainedWhat is music therapy anyway? According to the American Music Therapy Association, its the use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapy is administered by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.Enhancing Cognitive FunctionMusic has a unique ability to stimulate multiple regions of the brain simultaneously. For seniors, especially those dealing with cognitive decline or dementia, participating in music therapy can help activate neural pathways and improve their cognitive function. The rhythm, melody, harmonic progression, instrumentation, style of music, and so many other aspects can support reminiscence and memories, communication, alertness, engagement and cognitive response.Breakthrough BehaviorsBarbara, a CC Young memory support resident, appeared tired and, when asked by our music therapist how she was doing, she commonly answered that she was hanging in there. During one music therapy session, Barbara was given a small tambourine and naturally began to play it. Barbara gradually became more engaged, including the time when Take Me Home, Country Roads was playing, and she commented, Virginia is far away. This was an exciting breakthrough during the session, as Barbara had been reluctant to participate.Emotional Well-BeingMusic has a powerful and scientifically based ability to evoke emotions and memories. Due to changing living circumstances that often accompany aging, seniors may face challenges such as loneliness, depression or anxiety. Music therapy offers an emotional outlet, comfort, relaxation and a sense of connection. Listening to or singing familiar tunes or participating in music-making activities lifts spirits, reduces stress and creates a positive emotional environment. Music is innate in our culture, and it is therefore a source of grounding. So when music is intentionally employed by a music therapist, it can produce noticeable comfort, enjoyment and camaraderie.At the beginning of one particular group music therapy session, CC Young resident Rose was dozing in her chair. When approached by our music therapist who was playing the song New York, New York, Rose awoke with a big smile, began singing along and played a hand drum while moving to the beat of the music. She perked up, sharing with the group memories of her times visiting New York City and how much she loved shopping there.Physical RehabilitationMusic therapy programs for seniors dealing with physical ailments or limitations can also be integrated into rehabilitation plans of care. The rhythmic patterns and coordinated movements associated with music aid in improving motor skills, coordination and overall physical well-being. Whether through dance, rhythmic exercises or playing instruments, seniors experience benefits in movement that promote physical and mental health, often aiding their rehab and road to recovery.Social ConnectionMusic brings people together and finds common ground regardless of race, language and socio-economic factors. Music therapy does the same thing. Through group activities or one-on-one sessions, it creates a sense of community and social connection. Group singing, drum circles or interactive musical games provide opportunities for social interaction, which reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. Music therapy creates a sense of belonging and emotional support.Habla EspaolAt CC Young, occasionally, we will care for a resident for whom English is a second language. When Julio came to CC Young for rehab services, he was encouraged to participate in music therapy as part of his care plan. He was delighted to know the music therapist spoke Spanish and had fun joining the therapist in singing Spanish hymns.Improved Sleep QualitySleep disorders are common among seniors, and they can affect physical and mental health. According to UC Davis Health, music at around 60 beats per minute, which is the same as a relaxed heart, can slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and promote better sleep patterns, contributing to overall improvement in quality of sleep. Likewise, listening to calming music before bedtime or incorporating music into relaxation routines can promote better sleep patterns and contribute to an overall improvement in sleep quality.In the symphony of life, music therapy stands out as a harmonious healer on multiple levels for older adults. Music therapys ability to address physical, emotional and cognitive well-being makes it a valuable and accessible tool for seniors. As we continue to explore the therapeutic potential of music, it becomes increasingly clear that the melody of life can be enriched, and the challenges of aging can be met with the uplifting power of music therapy.Want to learn more about music therapy for seniors? Contact us and get in touch with a CC Young senior living expert today.
How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging ParentsWhen it comes to aging parents, certain topics are often at the forefront of the conversation senior living, health care, and financial planning, to name a few. However, there is one topic that is very common but not as openly discussed: family conflict. This type of conflict usually occurs among adult children as their parents or family members go through the aging process. Disputes can also occur between parents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. Disagreements often stem from the stress, sadness, denial, anger, or uncertainty people often feel when their loved ones start to need help.Family conflict over aging loved ones is especially prevalent in the state of Florida, which has such a large senior population. In fact, family conflict became such an issue that the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts launched the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. This dispute resolution process was specifically created for families experiencing conflict over the care, autonomy and safety of Florida seniors.Clearly, family conflict over aging loved ones is a real issue that impacts seniors. While it is not uncommon, it can be prevented with the proper preparation, communication, knowledge, and guidance.This article will cover several aging-related topics that can lead to family conflicts, and how to best solve or prevent these issues. After all, the best outcomes for seniors occur when there is harmony and teamwork among their adult children. Situations that Can Lead to Family ConflictProblem: Uneven balance of caregiving responsibilitiesAdult children of seniors often have to handle many matters related to their aging parents. These can include taking on the role of a family caregiver, accompanying parents to medical appointments, making healthcare decisions, managing finances, driving them to all their obligations, managing their nutritional needs, performing household maintenance and chores, and many other duties.When multiple adult children are involved, it is natural for one child to take on more of the caregiving load than the others. This is often the case when one child lives much closer to their parents than the others.But when these duties are not evenly distributed among the children, some start to develop feelings of anger or bitterness toward their siblings.Solution: When feelings of bitterness and resentment start to develop, have a civil discussion with your siblings about the issue. Rather than being accusatory, try to make a plan to solve the problem. Write out all the responsibilities required for taking care of your aging parents, and specifically delegate each duty to certain people. Make sure everyone is on board with the agreement and is assigned a role that is achievable for them. Keep the list somewhere everyone can access it, whether it be a printed copy for each family member, or even a shared Google Doc. Plan to have frequent check-in meetings to make sure everyone is doing their part and discuss any concerns that have arisen.For example, one child who lives nearby can be in charge of driving their parents to appointments, while another child who lives farther away can take on the role of managing their finances. Or, if one person is unable to physically help, perhaps they would be willing to contribute financially to help make the other childrens roles a little easier whether that be by paying for respite care, a geriatric care manager, hospice care, or another service. Problem: One sibling is being excluded from the decision-makingSometimes, one child will take over most of the decision-making for their senior parents, causing the other siblings to feel as though they are being left in the dark about these important issues. Solution: In these situations, communication is key. In a calm manner, tell your sibling how you are feeling. It could be that they are simply unaware of their actions. Or, they might have thought they were making their siblings lives easier by not involving them. Explain your point of view and that you want to be more involved in matters relating to your aging parents. From there, you can work together to make an arrangement that you are included in.Problem: Disagreements about the amount of care neededFor some people, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that their parents needs and abilities are changing. This can lead to denial or avoidance of the situation which is not only harmful for the seniors, but can also cause disagreements between adult children.In other situations, some adult children may believe their parents are able to safely age in place in their own home, while others may think senior living would be the best choice.Solution: Sometimes a professional outside opinion is all it takes for people to come to an agreement about their parents care needs. Consult your parents doctors for a professional report about their health status and changes in ability. It is also wise to contact an expert senior advisor like Florida Senior Consulting to conduct necessary assessments and make professional recommendations for the senior. A senior advisor can also help inform about all the possible options, whether that be in-home care or senior living. Along with involving outside sources, siblings can work together to research the situation at hand. For example, if the seniors are experiencing memory issues like dementia, adult children can research this topic to learn what level of care is often recommended in these situations. This method is always a good place to start and helps everyone be on the same page about their loved ones needs.Problem: Disagreements about end-of-life care and estate planningEstate planning and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable or delicate topics to discuss. Because of their complexity, these matters can often lead to disagreements among adult children.Solution: In these tricky situations, it is often best to leave the decisions up to your parents. If possible, have them choose a power of attorney and set up advance directives like a living will and health care surrogate designation before a crisis occurs. This will prevent any future conflicts that could arise among family members if these designations are not in place.If a crisis occurs and your parents do not have these documents or their estate in order, it is best to contact an elder law attorney, a financial planner that specializes in elder affairs, and possibly a family mediator to help with inheritances. These professionals can help get the situation sorted out without the risk of a conflict developing between family members.Next Steps for Adult Children to Help their Aging ParentsDont let conflicts about your aging parents tear your family apart. In difficult times, it is important for families to come together so the seniors in your life can receive the best care possible. This positive outcome is only achieved when the adult children work together as a team. After all, as Helen Keller once said, Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.If you and your family need guidance on how to best help your aging loved ones, always contact a professional. Florida Senior Consulting will help you every step of the way, from deciding the right plan for care, finding the best assisted living community, packing, moving, and everything in between.Our expert senior advisors are local to Florida and will help you and find the best care possible.Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to get started today.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.
FirstLight Home Care is a renowned provider of non-medical home care services, offering a range of solutions designed to meet the unique needs of each client. Their team of dedicated caregivers is passionate about fostering independence and ensuring the well-being of those they serve.Services Offered:1. Companion Care: FirstLight Home Care understands the importance of companionship for overall well-being. Their caregivers provide friendly and supportive companionship, engaging clients in meaningful conversations, games, and activities.2. Personal Care: Recognizing the significance of personal dignity, FirstLight's caregivers assist with activities of daily living, including bathing, grooming, and mobility support. These services are tailored to maintain a sense of independence and dignity for clients.3. Dementia Care: For individuals living with dementia, FirstLight Home Care offers specialized care services. Caregivers undergo extensive training to provide compassionate support while promoting a safe and familiar environment for those with cognitive challenges.4. Respite Care: Family caregivers often need a break to rest and recharge. FirstLight Home Care offers respite care services, allowing family members to take time off while ensuring their loved ones receive the care and attention they deserve.5. Transition Assistance: Moving from a hospital or rehabilitation facility to home can be challenging. FirstLight Home Care assists in easing this transition by providing support during the initial period, helping clients regain their independence.6. Travel Companion Program: FirstLight understands that travel can be daunting for seniors or those with special needs. Their Travel Companion Program offers assistance for individuals who want to explore the world, ensuring a comfortable and secure travel experience.Quality of Care:FirstLight Home Care is committed to delivering exceptional care through highly trained and compassionate caregivers. Their rigorous hiring process ensures that caregivers possess the necessary skills, empathy, and dedication to meet the diverse needs of their clients.Client-Centered Approach:What sets FirstLight Home Care apart is their emphasis on individualized care plans. Each client receives a customized care plan based on their unique preferences, needs, and lifestyle. This client-centered approach ensures that the care provided aligns with the values and goals of those receiving it.Conclusion:FirstLight Home Care in Minneapolis is more than just a care provider; it is a partner in enhancing the lives of individuals and families. Through their comprehensive range of services and commitment to personalized care, FirstLight stands as a beacon of support, promoting independence, dignity, and a higher quality of life for all those they serve. Call us for more information and help at 612-473-3227.
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