5 Benefits of Making Music a Big Part of Independent Living for Seniors

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” – Plato

“Music is the soundtrack of your life.” – Dick Clark

“Music is life itself.” – Louis Armstrong

Of all the factors you should consider when researching homes for independent living, maybe the most important (and the most overlooked) is the vital role that music plays in any senior living community – especially one with a leading-edge Memory Care program.

There’s nothing like the sound of music.

Go ahead – think of any favorite songs from your youth. Chances are:

1. You still know most of the words, if not all of them.
2. You remember where you were the first time you heard it.
3. You think of someone else whenever you hear it – maybe a special someone.


Many music lovers can point to the tunes that make up the soundtrack of their lives: the song from high school that became your anthem; the song that became “your song” with a special someone; the song you danced to at your wedding; the song your baby kicked to when you were pregnant; or even the songs you associate with loved ones. Music is the backdrop to most of our lives, and it often houses – and triggers – powerful memories.

Music is powerful.

When it takes just two or three notes to “name that tune,” you know music has an amazingly powerful impact that’s unlike anything else. Music is so powerful that it reaches into 20 to 30 networks in our brains across different regions, according to Dr. Oliver Sacks. Those musical memories connect with us in different ways, and stay with us, according to Dr. Sacks. And though we don’t know how music therapy helps Alzheimer’s, we do know that musical memories are often locked inside Alzheimer’s patients’ brains and can be used to help with anxiety, depression and agitation. The same holds true for Stroke survivors. While many stroke patients suffer from aphasia and have difficulty finding the words to speak clearly, singing along with a familiar song often comes naturally.

That’s just one reason music therapy is valued in Cadence Living communities.

Why Every Center for Independent Living Should Incorporate Music Therapy

Researchers are still learning how music therapy helps seniors, particularly as a daily part of assisted living Memory Care activities. Read on to see some particular reasons Cadence makes music an integral aspect of our holistic Senior Living Neighborhoods, whether Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Assisted Living With Memory Care.

Our 5 Favorite Music Therapy Benefits for Seniors

Whenever a community like Cadence Living offers daily music therapy in assisted living activities for seniors, the advantages to residents are immeasurable. We’ll count down to our number one favorite benefit, so we’ll start with benefit number five.

5. Music therapy enhances overall therapies.

Music provides a wonderful complement to conventional therapeutic regimens. One study in Europe has shown that music therapy helps stroke survivors’ recovery of memory, attention and mood as well as enhancing neural encoding. Another study showed that listening to classical music decreased anxiety better than a prescription medication in surgical patients and reduced cortisol levels in postoperative open heart surgery patients. There’s even been some indication that listening to music could boost your immunity. So if you’re in healing mode, turn up the music!

4. Music therapy improves memory and cognition.

Listening to music helps us pay attention and stay focused, suggests a 2007 research study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Grooving to music causes increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with organizing, storing and retrieving information. In other words, music makes memories even more clear.

3. Music can reduce pain.

Along with decreasing anxiety, listening to music has also been found to decrease pain in pain-management patients. Music was also found to have reduced pain levels in cancer patients, and could be used in addition to morphine and other palliative care measures. And researchers at Harvard suggest that in many therapeutic settings music therapy can decrease pain perception, reduce pain medication and give patients a better sense of control over their pain.

2. The promise of music therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia treatment.

More and more research is showing the positive effects of music on those battling Alzheimer’s and dementia. In some Alzheimer’s patients, music has been known to increase memory recall and help with recognition of family members. For those dealing with dementia, music can evoke memories, reduce agitation, assist communication, and improve physical coordination.

1. It’s easy to add in music therapy for health and wellness.

As one study noted, music therapy is readily available, low risk, and inexpensive. For Parkinson’s patients music has been shown to improve balance, stride and posture. Music and dance lower stress, mitigate depression, and encourage social interaction, which makes music therapy for reducing stress a fantastic way for seniors to fight isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for those struggling with depression, music therapy along with a treatment plan can improve their symptoms. With these and all the other benefits we’ve noted, why NOT try music therapy?

We could cite more examples of when might music therapy be used with a resident, but we’re going to stop at five. Music therapy has so many enormously positive effects, as documented by numerous studies on music programs for seniors with dementia and how music therapy helps Alzheimer’s.

Cadence Makes Music a Key Part of Daily Life in Our Independent Living Communities

When researching independent living apartments for seniors, always check out the community’s assisted living calendars of activities. Don’t see any Choir Recitals? Country Line Dancing? Karaoke Night? No musical experiences or singing opportunities coming up on the Assisted Living Activities Calendar?

Then stick with Cadence to offer the best independent living services for active senior individuals or couples demanding a vibrant lifestyle focused on health, wellness – and an up-tempo beat!

At Cadence, we’re always dancing to the music! We orchestrate a symphony of assisted living activities ideas that provide state-of-the-art music therapy for the brain, body and soul.

These are just some of the opportunities available in our Cadence communities:

● Join the Cadence Choir. Did you know that singing in a choir helps cognitive functioning? That’s because of the information processing demands and the feelings of togetherness that a choir brings. The Cadence Choir is open to residents, their friends and family, and the local community.

● Go Backstage at Cadence. From country to classical and folk to rock, Cadence brings local music home. Backstage at Cadence allows our residents to feel the unique joy of a live music performance.

● Dancing With Dementia. The effects of dementia can be slowed with regular rhythmic dancing. We dance to develop strength, revive energy, prevent falls, and feel great!

● Music and Memory. Part of our Revere Memory Care℠ services, Cadence finds the right musical connection that will bring back pleasant memories for our residents.

Every day, the residents of Cadence communities enjoy living in an upbeat environment of music and dance designed to match the rhythm of their lives – where you, too, can Live Life in the Key of Beautiful®!

A vibrant community for seniors is very much like a great piece of music. It doesn’t just happen by chance. #FindYourCadence

In Maryland and Virginia, Cadence Living Is Tribute Living

Cadence Living manages four communities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area:

Tribute at One Loudoun in Ashburn, VA
Tribute at The Glen in Woodbridge, VA
Tribute at Black Hill in Germantown, MD
Tribute at Melford in Bowie, MD

Tribute celebrates the living aspects of aging while providing quality care. From Independent Living to Assisted Living to Cadence CONNECTIONS to Memory Care, Tribute’s wholistic approach to resident care cultivates an environment in which residents live Life in the Key of Beautiful®.