According to the NAMM Foundation, music has numerous cognitive and wellness benefits for older adults. Studies have shown that playing or listening to music stimulates certain parts of the brain, and that can help maintain or even build on cognitive functions including focus and memory. Plus, music can simply be enjoyable. It's a great way to worship, set your mood or simply create a lovely ambience in your assisted living apartment. Check out these ways you can enjoy music in your assisted living apartment or other small space.
You don't need a stereo to listen to music. You can stream literally millions of songs from your mobile device if you have the right app. One popular option is Spotify. You can download this app and use it for free on Android and Apple devices. It provides access to a wide range of songs and podcasts for unlimited audio entertainment.
The free version of Spotify does come with ads and you can only skip through a certain number of songs in a day. But there aren't many other limitations, and you can listen to almost anything in the Spotify database. The premium subscription is around $10 a month and gives you more options for how you can listen.
You can also try other apps, including options such as Pandora. Consider pairing your mobile device with Bluetooth headphones or a small Bluetooth speaker. This lets you play the audio via a wireless connection through those devices for more enjoyable sound quality or private listening. Headphones can be an important accessory if you live in a small space or want to enjoy your audio entertainment in common areas of the assisted living community.
You may be able to use your television to listen to music. Many cable services offer music channels. These range from channels that play music videos to non-visual channels that simply stream audio with pictures of the album covers on the screen. If you have a smart TV or a streaming device such as a Roku or Amazon Firestick, you can also stream music via those devices and play the audio on your computer. For example, Spotify is available on devices such as the Roku, so you can listen to your Spotify playlists on your TV too.
Your computer can act as a small stereo. Simply connect some computer speakers or a pair of headphones to start jamming. You can buy and download MP3 files instead of buying CDs. This lets you support the artist without cluttering your space with a lot of actual stuff.
But you don't have to pay for music to listen to it online. Many artists promote their music on sites such as YouTube. You can find extensive lists of all types of music on YouTube, often with videos and images that may help you enjoy the audio.
You don't have to be a passive listener to enjoy music. Seniors who know how to play an instrument can get a lot of benefits by continuing the practice. Don't forget that if you live in an assisted living community there are people living nearby. Be respectful of everyone in how and when you decide to play music.
If possible, choose instruments that aren't super loud or use headphones when you play something like an electric piano.
Older adults who have never played an instrument before can still learn. Consider asking in the assisted living community to see if any resident knows how to play and is willing to teach you. You might also look for people who teach adult music lessons in Kearney, NE. Or, if you're a DIYer, consider investing in an inexpensive guitar or keyboard and following along with many free YouTube lessons on how to play those instruments. You might be surprised at how fast you pick up the ability to play some songs.
Your voice might be the instrument you choose to play. You don't have to be a great soloist to enjoy singing in your own home. Simply pick a favorite song and sing along to it on the radio or streaming service. Or, sing hymns and worship songs you remember from church. There's no right or wrong way to sing, so just enjoy the moment as you sing to yourself.
And, if you are brave enough, consider singing with others in the community. Talk to residents in the Cambridge Court assisted living community to find out who enjoys music and what abilities they have. You might be able to put together a little praise band or simply gather around a piano to sing songs and enjoy fellowship together. No matter how you enjoy music, it comes with many benefits.