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Diseases in old age and alternative treatments: using music in

treating psychosomatic diseases in the elderly
Kleberson Calanca
kleberson@andrews.edu

Population aging is one of the most significant trends of the twenty-first century.
It has important and far-reaching implications for all areas of society. According to the
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) website, around the world every second two
people celebrate their sixtieth birthday – in an annual total, of nearly 58 million 60-yearold-birthday celebrations. One in nine people in the world is 60 years of age or older,
and it is estimated to grow to 1 in 5 by 2050. The Bible says: “The days of our years are
threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is
their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
This three-thousand-year canticle confirms that old age is an long standing challenge.
Despite remarkable advances in medicine, some aspects of this stage of life still cause
"fatigue and afflictions". However, although elders have to face serious challenges such
as depression, pain, and dementia, recent research in music therapy shows that these
problems can be overcome (or relieved) with the use of music.
According to the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24% of seniors
in America are depressed, in China the number gets to be even higher: 35%. When it
comes to quality of life, these numbers are worrying (Chan et al.). Depression is not just
a passing sadness in the face of an adverse unpleasant fact. The person has a deep and
abiding sadness, accompanied by discouragement, apathy, inability to enjoy the
pleasures of life. No interest in daily activities, do not sleep well, have no appetite often
have vague complaints like fatigue, pain in the back or head. Appear "bad" thoughts, as
ideas of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness; in severe cases may experience suicidal
thoughts. Antidepressants that act on neurotransmitters allow a recovery of the
chemical balance of the brain, with improvement in symptoms of depression. This
recovery takes a few weeks, during which the family support is also key. However, the
use of medications in curing depression is also associated with side effects that can be
mild body aches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and tingling sensation of the body.

or regions. the risk of emotional stress and mortality.). Furthermore. The pain may be associated with negative images. how is it possible to alleviate the problems arising from old age to alternative treatments that are both effective and safe? According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The results showed that after group music intervention. causing problems with family and nursing staff. The idea of applying music therapy in the treatment of depression. such as music therapy” (Vink et al. . Therefore. Chronic pain is a limiting factor of features increases the excitement. using musical experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change” (Hodges and Sebald 284). elderly people with dementia tend to have a more aggressive behavior. more attention has been given to the effectiveness of nonpharmacological approaches in dementia care. This study confirms that patients with dementia benefit from participating in music interventions. such as prolonged suffering. 393). the experimental group presented fewer agitated behaviors at the 6th and 12th sessions and at 1 month after cessation of the intervention. The researchers discovered that “Residents receiving music therapy showed significantly greater reductions in neuropsychiatric symptoms from the start to the end of the treatment than those receiving recreational activities” (Vink et al. This is becoming a problem for the individual. affecting body. and limiting physical functioning of the elderly subjects. psychiatric disorders. 393). pain and dementia possibly emerged from the observation of the ability that music has to calm down and relax for anyone who enjoys. increasing morbidity.Another common problem is chronic pain affecting 50% of this age range and 80% of nursing home residents (Grashorn et al. supported by several studies that prove that it can bring many benefits to these individuals. Although we do not know exactly by what mechanisms it works. and lack of treatment and abuse of medications. the family and society as it directs and limits the conditions and behavior of the one who experiences. “in recent years. Bruscia (1998) defines music therapy as “a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health. music therapy has been widely used in the prevention and treatment of depressive people.

Zuidema. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. Chu. not only it is necessary to expand the research benefits that music therapy can bring to that clientele but also apply them in the elderly to have a healthy. there are creative outlets available to us so that we may promote health and obtain a better quality of life. Donald A. Chen. C. Recent research shows that alternative treatments such as music therapy can bring positive results without the dependence of psychotherapeutic drugs. Vink. Hodges. several studies have shown music can be an essential tool in helping elder people to ameliorate their mental and physical health. “Effect of music on depression levels and physiological responses in community-based older adults”. P. Zuidersma.” Journal of The American Geriatrics Society.. 2011. Chang. Chou. Chan. “Age-Dependent Decline of Endogenous Pain Control: Exploring the Effect of Expectation and Depression. Mok. Sprenger. H. “Effectiveness of group music intervention against agitated behavior in elderly persons with dementia. S. Music in the human experience: an introduction to music psychology. Print. Forkmann. Sep.. Kwan Tse.. 2013: 1-7. Sebald. M. “Effect of Music Therapy Versus Recreational Activities on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Elderly Adults with Dementia: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Trial. Print. Yang. 2014: 392-393.” International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Print. & Slaets. F. it is relevant to consider the need to improve the elderly's quality of life.. 2009: 285-294.. Lin. Chen.. P. Wrobel. Y. 2011: 670-678. H.” PLoS ONE. F. & F. New York: Routledge.. K. C. N. C. Works Cited Chan. Jonge. K. Print. A. C. Print. J. M. For this very reason. A. & . E. and David C.. S. Boersma. (2014). Therefore. Grashorn W. Bingel. Although the elderly age comes with some fatigue and hardships. U.. U.. . Feb.In conclusion. lively and artistic life. E. Y.