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Community Singing Keeps Elderly People Healthy

Update Date: Aug 18, 2012 06:14 AM EDT

A research team which measured the value of singing for older people has revealed that those who involve in community singing are healthier than others.

The study has also revealed that for older people, singing groups are not only cost-effective, but a strategy to promote good health too.

The study which looked in to the health benefits of community singing, conducted by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University was a two year research project.

The study focused on assessing the cost-effectiveness and the physical and psychological impact of participating in singing groups on the elderly.

 "Our research has not only cemented previous studies that pointed to an increase in health benefits from community singing programmes, but also demonstrated that singing programmes are a cost-effective method of health promotion against NHS measures for this group of people," said professor Stephen Clift, Director of Research at the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.

"The design of the study has enabled us to put a value on the results which could ultimately result in substantial cost savings for the NHS and local authority adult services," Clift added.

 "I'm delighted to see such world-class research in this field helping to provide evidence that singing programmes present a viable additional means to promoting the mental health of older people," Dr John Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Public Health, NHS Kent and Medway, said in the press release.

For the study, the researchers worked with two groups of 240 volunteers aged 60 years and above.

While one group was involved in weekly group singing for more than three months, the others did not do the same. Later, it was found that the singers displayed an increased mental health component and a significantly reduced anxiety and depression.

Also, the singers were found to have an improved life quality scores on a measure used to assess the cost-effectiveness of health interventions, and recognised by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), Medical Xpress reported.

The funding for the project was done by an award of £250,000 from the National Institute for Health Research's "Research for Patient Benefit" programme and worked closely with third sector organisation Sing For Your Life to facilitate the singing groups.

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