Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Elderhood and drumming

As a HealthRhythm Drumming Facilitator, some of my most enjoyable music making experiences have been with senior adults. Some sessions were community based, but many were in senior communities with adults living with loneliness, memory loss, depression, or feelings of helplessness. When adults with memory challenges, or those adults just unmotivated to engage, therapeutic drumming can be a non-threatening intervention that spark's moments of joy in their day.

When we pass through childhood, adulthood and finally reach edlerhood, our needs and efforts to continue to learn, engage with others, try new activities, and remain both cognitively and physically active do not change. If anything, because many elders are retired and living with years of free time, engagement and connecting with others is even more important. 

Rhythm is a powerful tool to globally stimulate the brain. For example, vision and speech are in two different areas of the brain, but music uses the whole brain, reaching different pathways. Music can ignite past memories and for some, those that may feel are unreachable, will begin to connect with a simple pat of a foot.

Drumming can give a sense of personal power. The drum places an individual in the present, and can be very grounding. For individuals who have difficulty expressing feelings verbally, drumming encourages opportunities to release emotions and experience a means of self-expression.  The benefits of music making with drums may just be the key for communicating with those who no longer feel they have a voice.


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