Golden-Oldies could go on prescription, say Bath University researchers
Doctors may soon prescribe their older patients with sessions to singing charity the Golden-Oldies.
That's the hope of researchers from the University of Bath who are working with the city charity on new initiatives to help older people improve their health and wellbeing.
Dr Afroditi Stathi, from the university's Department for Health, is working with the charity Golden-Oldies to develop ways of helping older people become more mobile.
The Goldies charity was founded five years ago as an initiative to encourage isolated and lonely older people to meet up to make music.
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The charity now hosts 60 singing sessions a week across the South West and South Wales, with more than 1,500 members, and is aiming to become a national initiative.
Dr Stathi, along with PhD student Jolanthe De Koning, has developed a basic activity for the sessions, called the Active Song, which integrates simple exercises with singing.
Dr Stathi, who is now a trustee of the charity, said: "People like to go to the Golden-Oldies sessions because they are sociable and fun. It gives them a reason to get out of their homes and something to look forward to.
"But we saw that it was also an opportunity for them to do some basic exercises so we added in some movements that they could do while singing to help keep them mobile."
The Active Song combines functional movements to help train leg and upper body muscles.
Dr Stathi said: "A lot of older people say that they have problems getting around and reaching things and these exercises help them to be able to perform everyday activities."
The Active Song is now run in all the sessions and Dr Stathi hopes that in the future GPs will be able to refer patients to Golden-Oldies.
She said: "Our partnership with Golden-Oldies provides a great opportunity to carry out research examining the impact of the singing sessions on older people's health and well-being.
"This evidence will be used to further develop the Golden Oldies sessions and help to improve the lives of our Goldies.
It will also inform practitioners and policymakers concerned with formulating and implementing policies and programmes that utilise the promotion of physical activity to achieve health and wellbeing gains for lonely and isolated older people."
The charity's inter-generational programme Jubilee Time after Time is one of three finalists in the educational project category of this year's National Lottery Awards. You can vote for it on 0844 836 9685.