LIFESTYLE

Join A Choir To Avoid Loneliness And Reduce Dementia Risk, New Health Guidelines Advise

17/12/2015 10:58 GMT | Updated 17/12/2015 10:59 GMT

Pensioners should consider joining a choir to stave off symptoms of dementia and avoid loneliness, health experts have advised.

Singing in a group is just one of the new recommendations the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the elderly.

The watchdog has also said pensioners should consider reading to children in schools or joining an arts and crafts club.

The latest report draws on a number of previous studies which investigated the benefits of group activity on health.

choir old people

According to the report, loneliness affects one million people in the UK over the age of 65.

A concerning 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month.

This can have a negative impact on an individual's overall health.

"Loneliness is linked to the onset of dementia and is associated with depression," the report reads.

"It increases as people become less able to undertake routine activities. People who are lonely or isolated are more likely to be admitted to residential or nursing care."

The report adds that improving the mental wellbeing of older people and helping them to retain their independence can benefit families, communities and society as a whole.

"Helping those at risk of poor mental wellbeing or losing their independence may also reduce, delay or avoid their use of health and social care services," it says.

The guidelines also include advice for counsels on how they can improve their activities for the elderly.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Gillian Leng, director of health and social care at NICE, commented: "Ageing affects everyone differently. There are many factors which contribute to someone's ability to remain independent, avoid loneliness and maintain their mental wellbeing.

"This new guideline includes advice on putting this into practice, for example by looking at what is already in local areas and how it can be improved - are there any transport difficulties, do the older people know there are activities and services available?"

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