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Seniors Sing Out Loud and Strong: The Benefits of Joining a Choir

Darina Petrovsky, a predoctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has worked with older adults since she became a nurse. She also has a music background. Bringing these two areas of expertise together, Petrovsky created a small choir for older adults, organized through The Penn Memory Center. 

After about a semester of weekly work, the volunteer singers - accompanied by Petrovsky on the piano - culminated their first experience singing together with a performance of American standards, Russian Orthodox hymns, and Russian songs.

Petrovsky says the benefits of singing were numerous: friendship, the challenge of singing in another language, reading music, performing and sharing the fruits of their labor, and stress reduction.

For her dissertation, Petrovsky is considering focusing on participation in musical activities as a shield against the decline of cognitive function, or as a way to help older adults rebound from health-related setbacks. 

Listen to more from an interview with Penn Nursing PhD student Darina Petrovsky