Singing to Promote Better Health?

As the population of seniors grows rapidly in this country, so does the need to pinpoint which lifestyle choices and activities will promote healthy aging. Recently, the University of California, San Francisco, received a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to launch a four-year study to provide scientific-based evidence that community arts programs, such as singing in a choir, promote better health.

The study, called “Community of Voices,” involves 400 seniors who will participate in weekly, 90-minute singing sessions for one year. Qualifying choir members are at least 60 years old and for the most part, and have no prior choral experience. In exchange for three study interviews, every participant will be paid $105 and will be invited to perform in public.

The goal of the study is to evaluate how participation in these choirs influences cognition, mobility, and overall well-being — from mood, loneliness and memory to strength and balance.

The first of three groups has already formed at the Mission Neighborhood Center, and whether the study proves health benefits or not, participants are excited to be involved.
“This choir is good for me — my self-esteem is going up because I’m not in my house thinking my life has no value,” said Carlos Castro, 62, who recently had to give up his career as a massage therapist.

One of the only other studies of senior singing, by Gene Cohen and colleagues at George Washington University in Washington DC., found that participants reported better health, had fewer doctor visits and falls and added more activities to their routine when compared to seniors who did not participate in a choir.

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. (www.VirginiaElderLaw.com), we are excited to share that singing in a choir may promote better health. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors preserve dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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