When an older family member has a heart attack, first and foremost for most family caregivers is often helping them to prevent another one. This often means making lifestyle changes that can be challenging. However, new research suggests that one change to improve heart health could be as simple as listening to music each day.
Music and the Heart
The study is being conducted by researchers at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine. The study’s lead author, Professor Predrag Mitrovic, says that one of the benefits of using music therapy after a heart attack is that it is “very easy and inexpensive to implement.”
The study took place over a 7-year period and involved 350 people who had experienced a heart attack.
They also had chest pain after the heart attack, which doctors call postinfarction angina. Half of the participants received the usual treatment for heart attack patients. The other half had 30 minutes of music therapy each day.
Music therapy was individualized by first playing 30-second clips of music to determine what kind of music was most relaxing for each person. Then, researchers worked with each participant to choose the most calming music from the type that was most relaxing for them.
During the study, those receiving music therapy completed a daily log detailing their experiences.
All participants had follow-up assessments every three months over the first year and once per year for the remaining years of the study.
At the end of the study, researchers found that those who had received music therapy reported feeling less anxious. They also felt less chest pain. Perhaps more important are these findings showing that people who received music therapy experienced:
- 18 percent less heart failure.
- 23 percent fewer heart attacks.
- 20 percent fewer coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.
How Home Care Can Help Prevent a Second Heart Attack
While the use of music therapy for heart attack patients does need more study, it certainly can’t hurt to play soothing music for your older relative each day. Home care providers can turn on music for the senior and allow them to relax and listen to it.
Meanwhile, the home care provider can take care of things around the house, so the older adult doesn’t have to. For example, home care providers can prepare heart-healthy meals, which are an important part of reducing the risk of future heart problems. In addition, home care providers can remind the senior to take their medications, help them to exercise, and drive them to medical appointments.