More Music, More Benefits for Older Adults

Avid music listeners may have a general sense that music plays an important role in their health and overall wellbeing, and new research is providing scientific evidence to support this idea, particularly for older Americans.

A recent study reviewed data on 5,797 participants aged 50 or older who self-reported a number of measures including how frequently they listened to music, prior health conditions, and how often they participated in a wide variety of activities which are cognitive, physical, social, and spiritual in nature – this includes activities such as walking, playing card games, doing craft projects, visiting with friends, praying, gardening, and much more.

The findings showed that older Americans who listen to music also spend more time engaging in other activities, compared to those who do not listen to music. Further, the research shows a direct correlation between frequency of music consumption and frequency of other activity engagement; in other words, the more often an individual listens to music, the more often they are likely to be engaging in other activities in life.

With a growing population of older adults, there are many reasons to investigate what kinds of tools and interventions might promote overall wellbeing and quality of life in later years. Since listening to music is already a well-loved activity which is often easily integrated into an individual’s life, this research suggests that encouraging music listening may be an easy way to enhance overall wellbeing for older adults.