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Neurological music therapy for physical and psychological well-being among older people in the USA

Maanas Sharma (School of Science and Engineering, Dallas, Texas, USA)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 8 March 2022

Issue publication date: 2 August 2022

109

Abstract

Purpose

In the USA, the well-being of older people is increasingly precarious. There is a paucity of research into methods of care outside of traditional, costly, intensive methods. Moreover, any literature that does so fails to connect different fields of study or aspects of well-being. This paper aims to identify alternate, cheaper methods to traditional care methods that also take a more holistic approach to older peoples’ lives.

Design/methodology/approach

Connecting research conducted by gerontologists, psychologists and neurologists, and framing the results through Census data and economic research, the author proposes music therapy interventions for older people.

Findings

Music therapy has significant benefits on physical, cognitive and psychological well-being. Moreover, these treatment methods are significantly cheaper than traditional methods and are even more effective in specific cases. Specifically, though, the research methods reveal that music therapy that engages participants formally, is group-based and uses participants’ preferred music is the most potent form of therapy to achieve the stated goals. Implementing such interventions across the country could be easily done by coordinated efforts by legislatures, administrative agencies, community groups and health-care infrastructure.

Originality/value

As opposed to varied methods used, which undermine the broad application of results, research should primarily use the proposed three-pronged approach as “music therapy” in future investigation. Moreover, proposing music therapy as a valuable alternative in some cases of elderly care may alleviate some stress on future American health-care resources.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Ms. Denise Foster for her support during the research process, Dr. Pamela Lin for arming him with the power of music and his mother and grandfather for showing him the universal reach of music.

This paper did not receive any funding from any external agency.

Citation

Sharma, M. (2022), "Neurological music therapy for physical and psychological well-being among older people in the USA", Working with Older People, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 187-195. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-05-2021-0026

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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