Beginner Guitar Lessons Activities for Seniors Citizens and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

By on November 15, 2012

Guitar PAGE2 Beginner Guitar Lessons Activities for Seniors Citizens and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Beginner Guitar Lessons have cognitive and physical benefits that may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, learning to play the guitar can also:

  • enhance problem solving skills
  • exercise spatial and visualization processes in the brain
  • alleviate anxiety, stress and depression
  • boost self-esteem
  • maintain finger and hand flexibility
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce muscle tension
  • provide opportunities for social interaction
  • contribute to brain plasticity


Mind-Body Connection

Published research results exist which supports a definite correlation between one’s physical health and one’s psychological state.

Consistently thinking negatively about yourself and the world around you alters brain chemistry, causing instability of mood-controlling neurotransmitter levels. This, in turn, affects the severity of depressed feelings experienced by someone enmeshed in negative thought.

Depressed states directly affect human physiology by causing:

  • headaches
  • back pain
  • chest pain (mimics heart attack pain)
  • fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • lack of appetite

Senior Guitarist BIGSTOCK Beginner Guitar Lessons Activities for Seniors Citizens and Alzheimer’s Disease PreventionActivities for senior citizen centers, such as beginner guitar lessons, are meant to furnish the older mind with positive and satisfying stimulation that contributes to a healthier lifestyle. Before the invention of MRI’s and CAT’s, scientists thought the brain was incapable of changing after a certain age.

However, we now know that the brain continues to exhibit plasticity even into one’s 80′s and 90′s, and thrives on brain fitness exercises such as crossword puzzles, artistic endeavors and learning how to play the guitar. 

More on Beginner Guitar Lessons

 Influence on Alzheimer’s

In a 2006 study conducted at the University of New South Wales in Australia, vigorous and regular brain stimulation reduced the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 50%. According to the “cognitive reserve” hypothesis supporting the results of this study, it is possible for the brain to cultivate resistance to neural decline in later years and delay the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.

Senior citizens who are already suffering from mild symptoms of dementia also show cognitive improvement when taking guitar lessons.

Signs of mild dementia include:

  • avoiding new situations
  • beginning to speak more slowly
  • making inappropriate or ineffectual decisions
  • depression and irritability
  • occasionally losing sense of direction


Crossword Puzzle 1 Beginner Guitar Lessons Activities for Seniors Citizens and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

These symptoms also mimic the long-term effects of social isolation. Longitudinal studies on seniors who are encouraged to participate in brain fitness programs, such as learning to play the guitar in a group setting, show marked reversals of these symptoms and a decreased risk of experiencing Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer-like symptoms.


Although research has yet to discover a definite cause of Alzheimer’s, it is apparent that continuing to stimulate the brain with activities conducive to cognitive functioning, such as beginner guitar lessons, is an excellent and enjoyable activity in which seniors can participate and socialize with other future, senior guitar players. 

If you have an itch to start playing the guitar but don’t enjoy the idea of group lessons we’ve found something good. Adult Guitar Lessons may be the right program for you 

More articles in our Activities For Seniors Series

Beginner Guitar Lessons Part One
Aging and Exercise
Brain Fitness and the Wii
Oil Painting Techniques
Activities for Senior Citizens
Acrylic Art Lesson Plans
Growing Bonsai Trees

Family Tree Research
Tai Chi for Seniors

Gifts for seniors

About diane

My name is Diane Carbo. I’m a licensed registered nurse with over 35 years experience practicing in a variety of organizations and community settings and as an advocate for older adults and their families.


  1. guitar needs

    December 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I’m not sure where you are getting your information,
    but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information
    for my mission.

  2. Jim

    January 5, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Am 69 yrs old. Never played guitar. Want to learn how to play. What do I purchase for my first guitar. How do I get started…..on line lessons or private.

    • diane

      January 7, 2014 at 1:32 am

      Hi Jim,
      That is a good question. If you are interested in playing the guitar, but not sure, I would recommend buying a used guitar first. That would be an inexpensive start to beginning a new hobby. I would say that your lessons can be on line or in person will depend on you. I have done online lessons for things and did very well. ( it was not music lessons) I like that I can read or play something over and over again until I learn a process. Of course, I have taken private music lessons. The problem with private lessons is, it is once a week. If you are unsure about a technique, then you must practice the best you can and discuss your concerns the following week. Private lessons are very motivating for practicing your lessons during the week. YOu must be able to play your lesson for your teacher, and you do not want to disappoint.

      The type of lessons you want will depend on your ability to be disciplined and self motivated to practice everyday to improve your technique. Good luck and please let us know what you decide and how you do on this new venture.

  3. Pingback: Continuing The Fight: How learning to play guitar combats Alzheimer’s | Karaoke Cloud

    • diane

      March 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Karaoke cloud,

      There is a lot of research on how important it is to learn new and different things to combat or slow the progression of dementia as age. It is never too late to learn new things. In my practice, many individuals retire and now have time to explore things that they wanted to do in the past. The benefits and joy that a person experiences when they learn an instrument creates new connections in the brain. For those that have a history of dementia in their family, this is a wonderful approach to create the new neural connections as well as learn to do things with the hands. Here is another article about dementia prevention

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