Singing for successful ageing: the perceived benefits of participating in the Golden Oldies community-arts programme
TEATER Barbara, BALDWIN Mark
Community-based preventative programmes are increasing in demand as the UK seeks alternative ways of supporting the growing number of older adults. As the use and promotion of preventative programmes increase, so does the need for evidence supporting their effectiveness. Through the use of mixed methods, this study explored a singing community-arts programme, the Golden Oldies, to determine the extent to which the programme contributes to participants' (n = 120) sense of health, self-development and social connectedness. Quantitative analyses found that between 73.1 and 98.3 per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the Golden Oldies contributed to their self-development, health and sense of community as well as revealing a statistically significant increase in self-reported health prior to participation in the programme to the time of the study. Qualitative analysis (n = 5) revealed three themes—the Golden Oldies as: (i) a reduction in social isolation and increase in social contact; (ii) a therapeutic source; and (iii) a new lease for life. The results provide evidence of the preventative nature of the Golden Oldies programme through self-reported improvements in health and social relationships where social connections appeared to be the important thread that contributed to the perceived benefits. Implications for policy, practice and research are discussed.