Singing programs for seniors provide enjoyment and improve the quality of life for seniors participating. Studies have shown that singing improves mental, emotional, and physical health.
- Those who direct senior singing programs, and the seniors who participate in them, report a number of physical benefits.
- Singing seniors had less need for medication and fewer doctor visits than their non-singing peers. Studies have linked singing with reduced stress, a decrease in blood pressure, and a lower heart rate.
- Singing requires training the breathing, which results in easier breathing and improved lung capacity.
- Improved posture during singing leads to better overall posture and improved balance, reducing the risk of falling.
- Singing seniors reported feeling better both while singing and in daily living.
- Speaking voice quality improved. Additionally, speaking voices of singers did not seem to age as much as non-singers did.
- Singing appears to improve the vision of seniors participating.
A person must use both sides of the brain for singing. The right side deals with the creative parts of singing. The left side is used to count beats and stay with the rhythm. This is mathematical in nature and requires reasoning.
In addition, singing requires a senior to read notes, concentrate on the word use and pronunciation in songs, and learn new material – all of which exercise the mind.
Research has shown people suffering from dementia or from Alzheimer’s may be able to sing even though they have partially lost the ability to speak. This is because the area of the brain that works with speech is different from that which processes music.
Social and Emotional Benefits
Some seniors experience feelings of neglect or not being needed. Participation in a choral group can provide a sense of community. Seniors also feel a sense of self-worth as they contribute to the group with whom they sing.
Seniors who participate in singing programs report enhanced feelings of relaxation, increased self-confidence, improved mood, and fewer incidences of depression.
Suggested Singing Activities for Seniors
Have a choral group provide entertainment. The thrill of performing provides a great deal of personal satisfaction for participants. Senior choral members can provide entertainment for other residents, other senior centers, or churches.
Schedule sing-along and/or karaoke. Singing along stimulates the mentalities of seniors as they remember the songs of the past and the events and people associated with them. For Karaoke, have the participants dress up and get on a “stage.” Some have found these activities so engaging they are placed on the calendar as a repeated weekly or monthly event.
Name that tune. Play parts of Christmas carols, classic oldies, or hymns and ask seniors to guess the name of the song. This can be an individual, team, or group activity.
There is no doubt that when older adults sing they increase lung capacity, keep their minds active, and experience social and emotional benefits on a regular basis. Seniors who regularly participate in singing practice and performances are nurturing both their health and general happiness. Taking into considerations the benefits of singing, ask yourself if there is a way for your senior living facility to introduce singing activities for their residents.
At Highland Risk, we continue to help your senior living facilities improve the quality of life for their residents. We provide timely information and services for continuing care retirement communities, independent and assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. We are available to serve you at our Chicago office at 847-8342-9100 or our Lansing office at 517-676-7100.