In this age of advanced technology, the focus is not always on the young. Technology designed for the aging population is enabling seniors to reap many benefits. While high-tech devices that monitor a senior’s safety and health are now widely known and available, the authors of this suggest that caregivers can effectively use nature images and music to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
The study was conducted on 300 participants, who resided in an assisted living community. The researchers analyzed the effects of exposure to music and nature images using specific cognitive ability and agitation measurement tools and found that the “use of both music and nature images holds promise for reducing undesirable behaviors and improving engagement of the residents…and could potentially enhance the quality of life for the care recipient as well as the caregiver.”
According to AARP, music can be a wonderful tool for those who have dementia. The National Institute on Aging says music can not only be a pleasant link to the past, but a nourishing connection to the present. Soothing music can also help to ease fear and anxiety in the elderly. Furthermore, music and imagery used in conjunction with one another can sometimes result in a deeper positive effect.
Seniors, perhaps with the help of a caregiver in certain cases, can take advantage of the many forms of technology to consume imagery and music. Audio technology, for example, has come a long way and we now live in a digital era where audio hardware, enhanced media formats, and on-demand streaming facilitate our music listening.
Seniors can use a desktop or notebook computer, smart phone, tablet, digital picture frame or other available technology to absorb the wonderful sights and sounds of the ocean, mountains, park or other forms of scenery — and experience that calming effect.
A relatively new option to help aid the emotional and psychological well-being of the elderly is virtual reality, which is an artificial environment created with software that is presented as a real environment. It is mainly experienced through the senses of sight and hearing with the use of a headset. A former emergency room doctor, Dr. Sonja Kim, recently reported seeing virtual reality as a way to help the aging relax, and it offers a change in scenery for those who do not have the ability or opportunity to get outdoors much.
And, for those who can spend some time outdoors, being in nature has been found to lower blood pressure and pulse rate, and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol.