Study explores impact of singing and dancing on healthy ageing

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Dance Sing lead a class.

Researchers at the University of Stirling are exploring how singing and dancing can support healthy ageing and improve mental wellbeing among care home residents.

Working with Balhousie Care Group, the research team will spend six months monitoring the health, social and mental wellbeing of residents before and after a 12-week programme of online music and movement sessions, delivered by provider danceSing Care.

Residents and staff will also provide feedback on the sessions through interviews and focus groups.

Professor Anna Whittaker, the study lead from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport said: “Our research group SPARKLE investigates the impact of physical activity on healthy ageing. This project is a great opportunity to team up with a digital exercise company and a care home organisation to see how regular engagement with music and movement can influence health and wellbeing. At this initial feasibility stage, it is also important for us to examine the barriers and facilitators to integrating this type of activity into the care of older people living in care homes.”

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor Anna Whittaker is leading the study.

The research – which is taking place in 10 Balhousie Care homes across Scotland – follows a recent study led by Professor Whittaker into the positive impact of resistance training in improving frailty in older people.

Sheilah Harvey, Head of Operations at Balhousie Care Group, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this study with danceSing Care and the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport. We all know we feel better after a song, a dance and some physical movement, and the positive effect on our residents is clear to us in their mood, interactions and physicality.”

Natalie Garry, from danceSing Care, said: “The danceSing Care experience has been developed not just tor people in care themselves, but for the caregivers too. It can create solid change and help create a happy vibrant community with a core of wellbeing and improving fitness. We know anecdotally that our music and movement classes are great for wellbeing, but we are really excited to team up with academics from the University of Stirling and Balhousie, as care home provider, to scientifically test this.”

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