Spotify and Shazam: How Music Can Help Seniors with Aging Problems – Peyton Mysliwiec

Introduction

There are many apps available to the public but there are some that could be most beneficial for daily use.  Spotify and Shazam are very popular among younger people because that is the age group that is most interested in music and want it available to them wherever they go.  Spotify is available for download on smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  It is an app that allows one to search and save/download songs that are available on the app.  Genres of music include pop, hard rock, reggae, country, blues, and one can even select a decade to listen to.  Once a song is saved to the individuals account, that song is available to them wherever they go.  This app is also very beneficial to discover new music and the app is free to use but one can buy it to unlock all of the features.  Shazam is also a music app but it is used to identify a song.  If one does not remember the same of the song or the artist, they can easily click a button and the app will “listen” to the song and show what song it is.  The app also shows lyrics to the song once it is identified. Young people use these apps to listen to music since music is such an important part of adolescence.

Importance for Seniors

Both of these apps (Spotify and Shazam) can help seniors connect to music that they once listened to and can potentially spark memories that they could not remember on their own.  Shazam can help memory specifically because it is an aid that can allow them to identify songs when they could not remember it before they used the app.  If seniors get to know and use this app, they can be “up-to-date” on today’s technology and not be seen as the age group who are not aware of what is going on or are not knowledgeable about technology.  Music has been seen to help seniors manage depression and behavioral problems if they are diagnosed with dementia.

A study done by Wang, Yu and Chang (2015), it was discovered that music has many therapeutic benefits for people who have dementia.  It was stated that music cannot cure dementia but is has shown that it can help alleviate symptoms of dementia such as behavior problems and individuals who have depression which is correlated to having depression.  One of the major advantages to music is that is in non-invasive and it can be tailored specifically to the senior’s preference of music.  Music was also shown to help lessen anxiety within seniors.  The study itself was a quasi-experimental, longitudinal research design and the researchers used two groups of subjects.  They were not randomly assigned to the experimental group but those in the experimental group received Kagayahiki music care (MKC) twice a week for 24 weeks.  Subjects in the other group were provided with normal activities.  The results of the experiment found that the experimental group had significant differences in their behavior and they were “better” than the non-experimental group (Wang, Yu & Chang, 2015).

While not all seniors have dementia, music can still help those who have behavioral problems, anxiety or depression due to other circumstances.  Having non-invasive methods to help seniors relieve some unpleasant symptoms can increase their quality of life significantly even if it does not get rid of them forever.  There was also another research study done by Hallam and Creech (2016) which looked to see if active music making can promote health and well-being in older citizens.  There were three case studies that were conducted at different sites.  One program provided a lot of musical opportunities for those over the age of 50 and aimed at helping the individuals develop previous musical skills they once had and also develop new skills.  Another program focused on allowing the participants to engage in singing, playing instruments, making their own music as well as teaching them about music theories and how to write their own music.  The last program was open to all ages in the community so that seniors could interact with those of younger ages so they could tell stories and hopefully recollect memories that were associated with music.  The control group went to classes that did not include music.  Those who were in one of the three programs had higher scores on the CASP-12 which was due to the fact that those in the programs had increased memory and creative skills (Hallam & Creech, 2016).

Obstacles and Issues with The Apps

While this app seems to have very beneficial aspects to it, there might be some obstacles with seniors using them.  For instance, not all seniors have smart phones, tablets or laptops.  Many tend to have the stigma that they are too old to learn how to use the new technology so they just stick to their life without it.  If there was a way to get seniors out of this mindset, then many can utilize hundreds of apps that could potentially help increase their quality of life and not just these two.  Focusing on Spotify and Shazam, seniors could have a problem using them because the items on the apps (Spotify specifically) tend to be very small and there is a lot of information on the app.  For seniors who are very technologically advanced, it would be very easy to use but for those who are not, it could be a challenge.  There is not an option to increase the size of the font or to make it to where only what they want to be shown on the screen.  There are multiple items to click on that will take an individual to many different things.  Shazam is quite easy because the only thing to click on to use the app is a large blue circle that takes up about the while screen.  This app is not nearly as dense and complicated as Spotify is.

The apps could be optimized for seniors if there was an app similar to Spotify that had larger text and was more simplistic for seniors to use.  Many have bad eye sight and find typing on such small devices such as an iPhone to be quite difficult.  If the apps could redesign a version of the app designed specifically for seniors, that would be optimal.  They could ask seniors what they like and dislike about the apps now and they can use those responses to design an app that is perfect for their use.  By creating apps that are designed for seniors by using feedback from seniors, they can create apps that will benefit them and allow them to get rid of the stereotypes that they are too old for modern technology.

References

Hallam, S., & Creech, A. (2016). Can active music making promote health and well-being in older citizens? Findings of the music for life project. London Journal of Primary Care, 8(2), 21–25. http://doi.org/10.1080/17571472.2016.1152099

Wang, S., Yu, C., & Chang, S. (2017). Effect of music care on depression and behavioral problems in elderly people with dementia in Taiwan: a quasi-experimental, longitudinal study. Aging & Mental Health, 21(2), 156-162. doi:10.1080/13607863.2015.1093602

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