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Music found to enhance mood, relieve depression and improve balance for the elderly

Music is often used to express emotions or as a form of entertainment. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, however, used it for therapy and found that listening to music can reduce the risk of falls in older people.

For this study, researchers at McGill University and the University of Montreal in Canada looked at the effect of listening to music on the risk of falls in older people. To do so, they examined more than 100 participants who were admitted to a geriatric assessment unit in St. Mary’s Hospital Center in Montreal, Canada. Out of the 152 participants, only 61 attended music listening sessions while the remaining 91 participants did not attend music sessions.

To measure the effect of listening to the participants’ risk of falls, the researchers compared the Morse Fall Scale score upon admission and discharge, as well as its variation between both groups. The researchers also noted the participants’ age, sex, living situation, the reason for admission, the season of admission, Mini-Mental Status Examination scores, number of therapeutic classes taken daily upon admission, use of psychoactive drugs upon admission, and length of stay.

The researchers found that the Morse Fall Scale score of patients exposed to music greatly declined. This suggested a link between participating in listening sessions and to a reduced risk of falls in older people, particularly those admitted to a geriatric assessment unit.

The team explained that this positive effect may be due to the mood-enhancing effect of music, such as reducing depressive symptoms which have been linked to a higher risk of falls. Since patients had to walk to participate in the listening sessions, this physical activity combined with listening may also have positively contributed to the reduction in the risk of falls. Taken together, the findings of the study suggested that participating in music listening sessions may help lower the risk of falls in patients admitted to a geriatric assessment unit.

The psychological benefits of listening to music

Listening to music can influence your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It has also become a form of therapy wherein it is used to promote emotional health, help patients cope with stress, and boost psychological wellbeing. Aside from these, music offers the following benefits:

  • Improving your cognitive performance – Playing music while focused on another task can improve cognitive performance, especially in older adults. Consider choosing instrumental tracks instead of those with complex lyrics, which might cause distraction. (Related: Music improves your brain: Study finds musicians are better at solving problems and making decisions.)
  • Reducing stress – Listening to music can influence the human stress response, particularly the autonomic nervous system, according to a study published in the journal PLoS One. In the study, participants were first exposed to a stressor. Then, some listened to relaxing music, others listened to the sound of rippling water, and the rest did not receive any auditory stimulation. After that, they took a psychological stress test. Results showed that those who listened to music recovered more quickly after exposure to stress.
  • Helping you lose weight – Listening to music while eating may be a great weight loss tool as it helps you eat less. One study showed that music and lighting helped create a more relaxed environment, where participants consumed their food more slowly and were more aware of when they started to feel full.

Read more articles on how alternative therapies like music therapy can help improve the wellbeing of a person at

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