Why Music is Critical for Caregivers (Plus Five Playlists to Get You Started)

Why Music is Critical for Caregivers (Plus Five Playlists to Get You Started)


November is National Family Caregivers Month

Music has an amazing ability to help aging or ill patients physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the benefits of music certainly don’t stop there. Music can make a huge difference in caregivers’ lives, significantly reducing stress and providing a much-needed opportunity to recharge.

Proven benefits of music for caregivers

The same study that found so many proven benefits of music for Alzheimer’s patients also discovered demonstrated positive impacts on caregivers. When loved ones are engaged with music, caregivers gain time and peace of mind to tend to themselves, accomplishing daily household tasks, taking care of personal needs, or simply sitting down to relax. This reprieve, as well as the pleasure of seeing their loved one enjoying their favorite songs or artists, translates to less stress and a more peaceful, productive environment.

Stress reduction isn’t the only advantage that music provides to caregivers. It can literally make their jobs easier, guiding the moods of their loved ones, helping smooth tough activities, and generating points of conversation and connection. These effects do lessen day-to-day stress, but they also increase satisfaction, happiness, and the sense of a job well done.

In addition to these qualitative benefits, the Alzheimer Society of Toronto iPod Project also found quantitative proof of music’s positive impact on caregivers: “A comparison of responses on the Caregiver Distress Scale between the beginning and end of the three-month study period uncovered two statistically significant results: Caregivers felt more able to engage socially. They also reported that their caregiving responsibilities created less of a negative impact on their personal life and health than before their loved ones had access to personalized music.”

5 playlists for caregivers and their loved ones

The takeaway for caregivers is clear. Using music to engage with your patients and/or loved ones creates a ripple effect of positive outcomes that strongly benefit everyone involved. So fire up your phone, iPod, laptop, stereo, record player, or favorite radio station and turn on the tunes! Before you know it, you’ll feel less stressed, more social, and most importantly, a stronger sense of accomplishment, pleasure, and work-life balance.

Need some inspiration to get started? AARP put together five playlists tailored for older listeners and their caregivers, as well as instructions for how to access them on Spotify.

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