Music Therapy For the Elderly

 In Enrichment

When it comes to music therapy for the elderly, there’s a lot you can do. But before we get into specific examples and ideas, we want to briefly fill you in on some of the melodies that have been floating up and down our campus halls lately!

Music Therapy Activities for the Elderly

Providing great musical experiences for seniors is just one of those things… it may not be at the top of most ‘key elements of care’ lists that folks look at when deciding on an assisted living home, but it can make a huge difference nonetheless. The world-famous composer Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

This quote says a lot about the communicative power of melody and song. Music that is particularly emotional can soothe our quiet fears, summon our inner strength, and bring us together in a shared sense of hope. With Andersen’s words in mind, it’s clear that music is a powerful tool. That’s why we like to give our Elders plenty of opportunities to tap into it.

Concerts, Concerts, Concerts!

We shared it in the previous post too, but it’s exciting and relevant enough to mention twice: we recently had our first live entertainment on campus since March of 2020! Two very talented musicians from Kenyon College came to fill the halls of OESH with rapturous music again. They did such a great job and really brought smiles to so many of our faces.

A piano player and saxophonist in masks play music for the elderly in a room.

Having concerts again is amazing music therapy for the elderly and our OESH staff alike.

A piano player and saxophone player provide music therapy for the elderly.


And wouldn’t you know it… Elvis showed up too! He came in from Memphis to shake, rattle, and roll for a while with our star-struck seniors and care staff. Wow… what a show! 🙂

Elvis impersonator in blue jumpsuit with microphone and gold sunglasses.


Even more recently, we had a couple other musical performances that our elders LOVED. The first was from a singer who accompanied herself on piano wonderfully. The other show was a steel drums performance! That certainly isn’t something we get to see every day.

So yeah… the takeaway in case you missed it: we’re jumping back into music pretty hard lately. It’s been a real blast, and I don’t think anyone’s ready to quit dancing just yet either…

Our OESH Rockstars

We just had the official OESH house piano tuned, which means we don’t have to rely on the calendar for all of our musical moments. Some of the Elders on campus really enjoy playing, and we love hearing them. Having the piano available and in good shape for their talents is a joy to us all.

3 Ways to Incorporate Music Therapy For the Elderly

Aging Care has some wonderful information on how to provide music therapy for the elderly person in your life. One of their idea we like a lot is when folks “use music to travel back in time.”

The Musical Time Machine

The idea here is to try and bring back old memories through music. By spending time diving into some of the old songs from a senior’s life while simultaneously reminiscing about the past, Elders may be able to access memories they had forgotten. Aging Care suggests trying a singalong with tunes from their twenties and thirties to start.

Here are a couple more ways to try music therapy for the elderly:

Going to a Show

There’s just something special about going to a dedicated space for music. Maybe it’s the professional acoustics. Maybe it’s simply the getting gussied up and stepping into a big hall. Whatever it is, it’s certainly a treat when it happens.

Our fingers are crossed that COVID will stay away and that public spaces will be safe for our seniors. As we mentioned in the post “Our Top 6 Senior Activities,” the Woodward Opera House is a spot we’re particularly fond of here in Mount Vernon.

Chair Exercises for Seniors With Music

There are so many ways to incorporate music into our lives and the those of the seniors around us. ONe way is through group activities and exercises. Everybody knows that music and exercise go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, who doesn’t get an extra boost when their jam comes on mid-workout?

Doing chair exercises for seniors with music is not only fun, but it’s an easy way to get everyone moving too!

Chair exercises for seniors with music at a Mt Vernon nursing home.

More Questions About Music Therapy For the Elderly?

As you’ve seen there are plenty of ways to add music to our lives. When it comes to music therapy for the elderly, there a bunch of fun activities you can do. To get more in depth with it, you can even find a professional music therapist who will have training and advanced expertise. But if you have any questions about boogying down, we have your answers right here at The Ohio Eastern Star Home. 😉