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Music, fitness and singing classes boost wellbeing of care home residents in Scotland

A pilot study by the University of Stirling has found that music and movement can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of care home residents.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, followed 47 residents from 10 care homes across Scotland over a period of 12 weeks as they improved their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. The residents and carers enjoyed digital music and movement resources made by fitness wellbeing company danceSing Care, in consultation with NHS health specialists.

Over the study period, residents took part in the online sessions four times weekly, where they were encouraged to engage in chair and standing fitness, music and singing, bespoke Memory Lane radio shows, and musical concerts.

A range of benefits and improvements to residents’ wellbeing have been reported since the sessions. Academics looked at a number of aspects of participants’ health and wellbeing, spanning anxiety and depression, stress and loneliness, sleep satisfaction, and indications of frailty such as appetite and unintentional weight loss. The study showed improvements in a number of areas when taking part in the sessions.

It was noted that residents participated more in each movement session as the weeks went on, with visible improvements in physical strength.

Robert Wilson, a care home resident who took part in the study, commented:

“I enjoyed the fitness part of it the most and have become familiar with the moves as they were easy to follow. I love music and found the music part of the programme very enjoyable too.”

Professor Anna Whittaker, the study lead from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling, said:

“The early results of the study are extremely promising in terms of the positive impact that music and movement can have on care home residents and staff alike. Giving residents something to look forward to and a chance to engage with one another has visibly improved their quality of life, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Such good results at this stage are really promising for the future, and we hope this type of programme could be implemented in care homes across the country before too long. We did also identify some challenges to delivering the programme in care homes which we will address in our future research.”