By Janet Noah

Singing provides many benefits for the elderly. Ongoing research has shown that regular singing can lift your spirits, increase your immunity and provide a workout for your brain and your lungs. These benefits are significant for those experiencing mild to moderate dementia.

The Bridges Assisted Living community offers residents the opportunity to sing numerous times a month as part of their scheduled Activity Program. Residents partake in karaoke, sing-a-longs, church services, and, most recently, The Bridges Choir. Under the direction of Wellness Coordinator Gary Lenza, residents join voices and sing music from their era. The Bridges Choir has experienced steady growth with more residents joining each month. From the smiles on their faces, it is apparent that the singers are experiencing joy as they sing.

Resident Pete Zylman has been singing in choruses since he was 18-years-old. He enjoys it as it is a worthwhile activity that keeps him busy and stimulates his mind.

Resident Lucille Pianese said that singing is a way of expressing feelings.

“The songs we sing bring back memories and the music revives me,” she said.

According to a study conducted at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and published in Trends in Cognitive Science, April 2013, evidence found that the benefits of singing “significantly improved psychological health and well-being through the engagement of neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure, stress/arousal, immunity and social affiliation.”

Philosopher and psychologist William James understood the benefits of singing when he said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing.” 

As a lifelong singer, resident Mary Grimshaw loves the newly formed chorus.

“I can feel my mood being lifted and I feel good when I sing. It brings back good memories of the years when I sang in high school and college,” she said.

For more information on The Bridges Assisted Living Community, call 413-8900 or visit

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