Sing!

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

Researchers have made new discoveries on the benefits of choir singing which may include positive effects on cognitive functioning, similar to playing a musical instrument! The cognitive benefits of playing an instrument are already fairly well known; such activity can improve cognitive flexibility, or the ability to regulate and switch focus between different thought processes. However, the cognitive benefits of choir singing have so far been investigated very little.

The results of the study show that elderly singers had better verbal flexibility than those in the control group, who did not have choir singing as a hobby. Verbal flexibility reflects better cognitive flexibility. The study also looked into the potential benefits of choir singing for the emotional and social wellbeing of the elderly. Questionnaires used in the study demonstrated that those who had sung in a choir for a longer period, more than 10 years, felt greater social togetherness than those with less or no experience of choir singing.

I love when I walk through a nursing center and hear residents singing. If you go to an activity room during one of the sing-along sessions, you will likely notice that everyone is awake and participating (unlike some other activity programs)! Why? Because everyone loves to sing, especially those that shouldn’t! So, get out there, sing with your residents, plan events around a song like “take me out to the ballpark” on opening day, etc.! Not only will the residents love it, but their cognitive function and overall well-being may also improve! Stay the course, stay well, mask up, get vaccinated, and stay tuned!