Older adults are at greater risk for being lonely than younger people are. The loss of friends and close family members to death is one contributor. In addition, in today’s society, families often move apart from one another so that the adult children of seniors don’t live near them. It’s quite common for older adults to live alone after the death of a spouse. If they have difficulty getting out of the house because of frailty or disability, they may have very few opportunities for social interaction.
A recent study has shown that group activities, such as community choirs can be an excellent way to combat loneliness in seniors.
About the Choir Study
The study involved developing a program called the Community of Voices. It was developed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco with help from the San Francisco Community Music Center and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services. The objective of the study was to determine if being involved in these kinds of group activities could give senior citizens a better quality of life.
There were 390 older adults participating in the study. They were placed in one of two groups. The first group began choir rehearsals right away. The other group waited 6 months. During the study, the researchers took measurements of memory, balance, and coordination. They also asked the participants to respond to questions about their emotional state.
The results of the study showed:
- Seniors enjoy being part of a group that is working to accomplish a goal together.
- The participants were happier.
- They were less lonely.
Other Group Activities for Seniors
While this study showed that community choirs are a great way of preventing loneliness in older adults, not everyone enjoys singing. Not to worry, though. There are many kinds of group activities that your aging relative may enjoy.
Some ideas are:
- Volunteering at organizations that benefit the community, such as soup kitchens, thrift stores, or programs for youth and children.
- Joining a group at a place of worship, such as a knitting or quilting ministry.
- Attending classes and workshops at the library or senior center.
- Taking a dance class at a studio that performs recitals.
- Joining a community acting troupe.
Senior care can also help your aging relative to find ways to engage socially. Senior care providers can drive the older adult to group activities. In addition, a senior care provider can simply get them out of the house for short outings and to run errands, giving them the opportunity to interact with other people. And, a senior care provider can be an important point of social contact as well, giving your loved one a companion they can talk to and spend time with.