- Saturday, 13 October 2012
Doctors could soon prescribe older patients with singing sessions in a bid to improve their health, it emerged today.
Researchers at the University of Bath hope GPs will support an initiative to get pensioners moving and singing together.
They have worked with singing charity Golden Oldies to develop a special 'Active Song' which integrates simple exercises with singing.
The 'Active Song' - designed by the singing charity at Dr Afroditi Stathi from the University's Department for Health - included functional movements to train legs and upper body muscles.
Golden Oldies, or Goldies, was founded five years ago as an initiative to encourage isolated and lonely older people to meet up and make music.
It currently hosts 60 singing sessions every week across the South West and South Wales and has more than 1,500 members.
Dr Stathi, who is now a trustee of the charity, said she hoped doctors would be able to refer patients to Goldies sessions in the future.
She said: "People like to go to the Golden-Oldies sessions because they are sociable and fun.
"It gives them a reason to get out of their homes and something to look forward to.
"But we saw that it was also an opportunity for them to do some basic exercises so we added in some movements that they could do while singing to help keep them mobile."
"A lot of older people say that they have problems getting around and reaching things and these exercises help them to be able to perform everyday activities."
The Active Song is now run in all Golden Oldies sessions.
Dr Stathi added: "Our partnership with Golden-Oldies provides a great opportunity to carry out research examining the impact of the singing sessions on older people's health and well-being.
"This evidence will be used to further develop the Golden Oldies sessions and help to improve the lives of our Goldies.
It will also inform practitioners and policymakers concerned with formulating and implementing policies and programmes that utilise the promotion of physical activity to achieve health and wellbeing gains for lonely and isolated older people."