What do a bar, dentist’s office, department store, and Krause Funeral Homes have in common? (No, this isn’t a joke—though we can only imagine some of the wild guesses to this question.) But the answer we’re thinking of is music. In many public places we are greeted by music playing softly (or sometimes not-so-softly) in the background. Such places tend to play music purely for entertainment value, but at Krause Funeral Homes we play music for the many benefits it provides both our families and our staff.
Music is proven to be one of the most effective prescriptions for promoting health and wellness in our lives. It boosts our immune system by changing the hormone levels in our brain, and consequently our bodies. It helps to decrease our stress by reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol is at a proper level, we are easily able to fend off colds, headaches, and other common ailments. It’s not just the so-called “elevator music,” but whatever style of music is your personal favorite.
Music we enjoy lifts our mood by creating healthy changes in our brain. In a recent study, scientists closely observed the brain activity of patients while they were connected to an imaging machine. When a song or artist they liked was played, participants showed significant changes in both the right and left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex. They were able to think more clearly, feel more at ease, and were generally happier than before.
Familiar melodies and soothing tones can also help to restore memory and cognitive function which are often compromised during times of loss and grief. This theory was put to the ultimate test at the Beth Abraham Family Health Services, in New York City. The facility began playing various styles of music to stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer patients to test the effects of music on memory recall. The results, published in the Wall Street Journal, were staggering. A 28-year-old stroke victim’s memory thrives after listening to his favorite rap and reggae tunes, while an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient recognizes her daughter for the first time in months after listening to the Yiddish songs she grew up on. Time after time, the power of recall was significantly improved. Music links us to our memories.
At Krause Funeral Homes we recognize this link, and encourage families who wish to do so, to incorporate music into the visitation and/or funeral service of their loved one. Though certain songs may seem inappropriate, in most cases, our staff can artfully and tastefully incorporate most any song selection. If your loved one enjoyed polkas, there are ways to incorporate one or two before, and even during the service. It will bring smiles to the faces of your guests, as memories of your loved one come flooding back.
Our minds associate people, happy times, and feelings of love with song, so let the music play on.
Krause Funeral Home is happy to assist in creating customized visitation and/or funeral services that celebrate one’s life in a unique and special way. We can assist with music selections from both pre-recorded and live musicians, such as an organist, harpist, bag piper, and more. Per your request, we can also provide suggested readings, prayers, and other ceremonial remembrance to honor your loved one.