If you know someone with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you are familiar with the ever-present wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and anxiety that come with the disease. It’s difficult to breathe! The lack of oxygen leads to persistent “air hunger,” which can be both frightening and exhausting.
At Senior Life Management, we find that people with COPD are often so tired, they have trouble leaving the house. Such isolation leads to depression in 50% of the cases. Plus it can be very wearing for partners and family caregivers.
Several studies have recently confirmed that singing and playing light wind instruments, such as penny whistles, can greatly improve lung function, fatigue and even depression.
Funded by the foundation of our country’s “Wonderful World” jazz great, Louis Armstrong, a team of music therapists at Mount Sinai Beth Israel is investigating an integrated approach to the management of chronic illnesses. In particular, the focus is on improving quality of life and daily life activities through music and culture.
Participants in the Music for AIR study engaged in music-assisted relaxation and guided imagery. They also learned greater breath control by playing penny whistles together and singing in the Sing-A-Lung chorus. Study participants got to pick the music from a wide range of styles. Some even wrote tunes for the group to play! The goal was to enhance voice and spirit, as well as breathing ability.
COPD is serious
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death, after heart disease, cancer, and stroke. There is no cure. But this study did shine a light on fun ways to manage the condition and combat the depression, fatigue, and breathlessness.
Learn more in this month’s issue of our newsletter, Kari’s Communication Korner.
If you have questions about ways to juggle the care needs of someone you know with COPD, give us a call at 949-716-1266. We can help. We are the experts in aging well in Orange County.