When you think of your favorite Christmas music, what comes to mind? For me, I love the traditional carols. But I also will admit one of my guilty pleasures is “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton. I only recently realized that these lyrics were not the most desirable. Sad, it took me that long to catch on…I know! I think music has that power to become part of our muscle memory and sticks with us. We can be singing something and not even realize WHAT it is saying. But like many, I always thoroughly enjoy the sounds of the season. As a member of the choir and praise team at my church, December is always one of my favorite times for music. Don’t get me wrong. I love to sing any time of the year. But I think the reason I love December so much, is that the rest of the world seems to be singing along. Many of our facilities company-wide incorporate music into their holiday gatherings. It makes everyone from young to old feel fa-la-la fabulous and festive!
As the Administrator of an assisted living, I love to see the faces of my residents enjoying
the voices of children singing their favorite Christmas songs. I love it when we have a group or class or choir or even carolers come and sing at our community. The amazing power of music therapy has been shown to not only lift spirits, but can also improve cognition and reduce levels of pain! I always say when we have music on the agenda for the day, we can count on it being a GOOD DAY! Watching the residents sing along is the absolute best!
But what they experience is not just good for the observer, it is truly good for THEM! According to the George Center for Music Therapy, music can actually:
- Reduce symptoms of depression
- Reduce aggressiveness and anxiety
- Reduce blood pressure
- Temporarily improve cognitive function
With the proven health benefits for elderly, both mentally and physically, it is vital to have music in your assisted living activity calendar on a regular basis. It is music that can connect one generation to another. Both vocal and instrument performances have been proven to be successful in this setting.
I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. ~ Billy Joel
So regardless of your role, whether you are a loved one, a volunteer or a person who just loves making music…share that universal language. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to make a difference in the lives of others. Chances are, your health will improve as a result as well!
Music is the universal language of mankind. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow