Art for Ages: The benefits of musical experience on the health and well-being in nursing homes

Pedrazzani, Carla Ambrogina and Cavalli, Stefano and Di Giulio, Paola and Eiholzer, Hubert and Paolantonio, Paolo and Fancourt, Daisy and Williamon, Aaron (2017) Art for Ages: The benefits of musical experience on the health and well-being in nursing homes. In: Global aging and health: Bridging science, policy, and practice, 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, San Francisco. (Unpublished)

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Listening to music has been shown to play a significant role in many older adults’ lives and the health benefits of making music for elders have also been demonstrated in recent studies. However, the field remains under-researched. This communication reports a not randomized clinical trial conducted in four Swiss nursing homes (NH). Residents aged of 65 years old and more, willing to take part in music activities, participated to 10 music sessions: one group focused on singing (n=40) and the other on rhythm (n=40). Participants involved in other not-music activities of the NH acted as controls (n=40). The music sessions were held – with live singing and playing simple instruments but also sticks, cups or graters – by the master's students and musicians of the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana/University School of Music. They were well attended by the residents with minimum drop out. A music questionnaire together with measurements of quality of life (SF12), depression (GDS scale) and loneliness (De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale) scales were administered at baseline and after the last session. Before and after one music session, saliva samples were collected to measure levels of stress hormones. Psychological data are compared using repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) across time and between groups, biological data are analyzed using saliva multiplex assays. Data show an increase in the importance conferred to music by residents taking part in music activities and an improvement in their perceived health status and in some dimensions of quality of life and well-being.

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