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As a lifelong fan of dancing, I know the exhilarating impact music can have on everyone. But, lately, I’ve been reading about its healthful influence on folks my age. The list of benefits is almost endless, and the evidence is undeniable.
Being a “show me” kind of person, I’ll mention a few studies: one looked at 60 seniors with fibromyalgia who were randomly selected to listen to music once a day for a month. These people had a lot less pain after four weeks than those in the control group who didn’t listen to music. Another followed patients who’d had spinal surgery and were told to listen to music before surgery. They, too, had significantly less post-op pain than those who didn’t listen to music.
A third study included 30 seniors who were asked to walk on a treadmill until they were exhausted. Some walked with upbeat, synchronous music (the kind that would make me want to kick up my heels!), some with non-motivational music, and some with no music at all. The study found that music helps people exercise longer, with the kind of music, or lack thereof, directly correlating to one’s stamina.
Other sources I’ve read say that playing, listening or dancing to music improves older adults’ physical and psychological health, memory and cognitive thinking, stress and anxiety levels, immune function, mobility and coordination, sleep, recovery time and (as shown in the studies), pain levels and perseverance.
It also relieves boredom, encourages positive memories and thinking patterns, and promotes social interaction. Music also has the amazing ability to evoke happy memories and emotions from long ago in people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
A new resident of GreenFields, I have already dug deep into all the things there are to do here, dancing included. My granddaughter Ava told you about that last month. What I didn’t know until recently, however, is that on the second Saturday night of every month, GreenFields has a Bluegrass Jam. Bluegrass just happens to be one of my favorites kinds of music!
Tom Dearing, a fellow GreenFields resident, coordinates the jam session. Those of us who play instruments (I pick a little guitar) can improvise, and those who’d rather just listen are happy to do so. It’s open to the public, and people from all across the area come to play or listen. Sometimes there are almost 100 people here!
What I also found out, much to my delight, is that Geneva has its own music festival, running this year from May 31-June 17 at locations throughout the area. Music this season will feature tunes from Broadway star Syndee Winters, who was in Hamilton and The Lion King, both of which I’ve seen with my daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter Ava.
Other performances in the festival include an organ recital, chamber music, blues, spirituals and, yes, bluegrass! I can’t wait to buy my tickets, not only because I love music and getting out on the town to enjoy it, but because it’s good for my health – and yours, too!