Benefits of Music for Seniors

senior man listening to music

Music is a potent medium and an integral part of our everyday lives. Music is all around, from advertisements to anthems, from nursery rhymes to the self-repeating jingles we use as a memory device.  

Seasons Retirement Communities cares deeply about the health and well-being of each of our residents, and music is one of the ways some of our locations have helped infuse joy into their daily routines. We’ve compiled a list of the benefits of music for seniors and how you can incorporate it into your loved one’s everyday life. 


Music fosters culture, community, and communication.


In your teenage years, many of your friends likely listened to the same, or similar, music and artists. Shared music can create a sense of community and togetherness, potentially introducing you to people you would have never met. 

One of music’s main benefits is bringing together people who may not otherwise know each other. For parents or grandparents who cannot communicate as effectively due to medical or language barriers, songs, melodies, and sounds can bring unity without the need for words. 

Sometimes, culture can get lost between generations, especially if languages aren’t passed on. Music can connect the older and younger generations and help preserve culture, as parents or grandparents often share cultural traditions and stories through songs or teaching instruments. 


Encourages exercise and physical health 


When they hear a good beat, most people can’t help but move a little – even if they “can’t dance.” Whether your loved one is regularly in the gym, likes to go on walks, or just loves to dance, music is a great way to get them up on their feet. 

Exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle as it strengthens your muscles and bones, reduces the risk of disease and illness, and improves overall mobility and quality of life. Some people aren’t fond of the gym, but that’s not the only way to exercise! A good song can get your heart pumping and your body moving. 


Can improve mental health


Music can drastically affect our feelings and state of mind. It has proven to reach deep emotional areas of the brain and evoke strong emotions. Happy, joyful music triggers our brain’s dopamine receptors, which results in mood boosts and a more positive outlook on life. In contrast, sad music tends to have the opposite effect. 

Your emotions will likely follow suit depending on the type of music you listen to. For example, when going to the gym, athletes often play hype music to help them push for their best, and composers use intense music to trigger fear, surprise, and suspense in film scores. 

Music can help those who suffer from anxiety or depression by calming and reducing those feelings. Some therapists even use music to explore emotions individuals don’t necessarily have the words to express. 

The best songs for seniors are the ones that mean something to them. Ask your loved one about their favourite songs, or introduce them to something new!


It improves concentration and focus. 


Playing an instrument is a great way to build concentration and focus. All new skills require steady attention and perseverance to master. Studies show that learning a musical instrument strengthens the grey matter in the brain, fosters more communication between the left and right sides of the brain, and improves overall cognitive ability. 

As a result, people who play musical instruments have better concentration, memory, fine motor skills, and overall brain strength. This fact remains true even if you started learning as an adult. 

If your loved one has always wanted to learn to play music, encourage them to do so. Not only does learning an instrument improve cognitive function, but it’s also fun! It can introduce new friends and new experiences. 


Music is connected to memory.


Sound is a close second to smell when it comes to the most memory-linked senses. Music has a distinct way of triggering our memory, as certain sounds and songs often remind us of memorable moments we keep close to our hearts. They can help bring us back to the places we’ve been and help us remember the people we knew. 

Therapists often recommend or integrate music therapy for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Despite the condition, music often revives memories that would otherwise be forgotten. For musicians especially, there have been many cases where muscle memory takes over, and despite having dementia, they can play and improvise songs perfectly. 

However, the most common use of tunes and melodies is to ease the anxiety and depression that can come with the diagnosis and development of dementia. Experts say the best music for seniors with dementia is familiar, calming or happy.

Even if your parent or grandparent doesn’t have dementia, music can revive fond memories and transport them back to “the good ol’ days.”

To encourage healthy living, many of our locations have music programs to supplement our memory care program and improve our residents’ quality of life. For example, our Seasons Amherstburg location hosts weekly music days where our staff connect with residents to help them feel cared for and included. 


How you can help your loved one incorporate music in their life 


Now that you’re familiar with some of the benefits of music, here are some ways you can integrate the beauty of music into your parent or grandparent’s daily life: 


  • Curate a playlist on a CD or a music-playing website (i.e., YouTube, Spotify, etc.). 
  • Find live music in your community. (i.e., A jazz bar, a school band or a musical theatre show).  
  • Introduce them to a music streaming platform and teach them how to use it to find their favourite songs.
  • Recommend music therapy. 
  • Encourage them to learn an instrument, sing or dance. 
  • Encourage them to join a dance class or choir group at a community centre or church. 




Music is a beautiful way to express the things that cannot be expressed through words. Hence, it is an excellent way for seniors to relieve stress, boost their mood, and improve their overall outlook on life. Here at Seasons Retirement Communities, we aim to provide our residents with the best care possible. If you have any questions about our care offerings, contact us today.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.