Singing is an activity many seniors have been enjoying since they were young, whether they began singing in grade school, sang in their church’s choir as adults or simply sang for fun. As much joy as it brings, studies have shown that singing might also be an integral part of senior care, as it can help older adults stay mentally and physically healthy.
It is these results that led Louise Greenberg, a lifelong musician and resident of a senior living community in Reading, Pennsylvania, to start a regional choir for seniors in the Reading area. Greenberg, who spent her career as a scientist examining biochemistry, neuropharmacology and gerontology, has extended the no-audition invite to all seniors in the area, whether they live at home or at any of the area’s senior living communities, the Reading Eagle reports.
A 2006 study conducted by researchers and musicians from George Washington University and funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations, found that seniors who participated in choral singing for a year experienced less depression and loneliness, and used less medication than those who did not join a choir. They also had fewer doctor’s visits and experienced improvements in their breathing, singing and speaking, as well as in their overall stamina compared to their counterparts.
Greenberg heard about this study when she attended the Chorus America conference in June 2012, the news outlet reports. Having her personal positive experience with music supplemented by science, she moved forward with plans to form the regional choir.
Seniors who live at Southgate at Shrewsbury have plentiful opportunities to reap the benefits of music. Southgate offers musical activities including singing, playing instruments, theatre performances, and listening to music. The community also has religious services, so seniors who love to sing in church may continue to do so after making Southgate their home.