It’s a rare individual who doesn’t appreciate music. Chances are, your parent or grandparent enjoys it—and you do, too. Take advantage of one of the few truly universal pastimes that transcends all ages and personalities. Spend some time with your parent or grandparent with these music activities for seniors.
For Some Fun Exercise: Take Dance Lessons
If your parent doesn’t struggle with joint or back pain or general mobility issues, sign up for dance lessons. Dance is a great aerobic exercise, and, in most areas, you should be able to find a class suited to seniors. Ballroom, swing, or Latin styles may stir happy memories, while a new style provides a fun challenge.
For an Excuse to Get Out: Attend a Concert
What kind of music does your parent love? Classical? Jazz? Soul? Ask them, and then plan a fun afternoon or evening out together. Make it a special occasion and encourage your parent to wear his or her finest.
For a Family Activity All Ages Can Enjoy: Musical Chairs
At your next family dinner, suggest a rousing game of musical chairs around the table post-meal. You may get some eye-rolls at first, but you’ll be surprised how all ages laugh during this silly game. Winner gets to skip dish duty.
For a Trip Down Memory Lane: Make a Playlist
For seniors with mobility issues or dementia, more sedentary activities, such as making a playlist, prove best. Ask your mom or dad about the music he or she listened to through life—you’ll discover a lot as you walk through childhood, high school, and adulthood. As you talk, pull up songs online and listen to them, or you can take notes and create and listen to the playlist together later. Here are a few to get you started:
- Fred Astaire – “The Way You Look Tonight” (1936)
- Glenn Miller – “In the Mood” (1940)
- Doris Day – “Sentimental Journey” (1945)
- Frank Sinatra – “All of Me” (1947)
- Elvis Presley – “That’s All Right” (1954)
- Chubby Checker – “The Twist” (1960)
For Help with Dementia or Alzheimer’s: Music Therapy
According to the American Music Therapy Association, research studies and clinical experience show that music therapy can provide relief and comfort to seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. If you’re interested, be sure to check the credentials of any potential therapists for recognition from the Certification Board for Music Therapists.