Kentucky program teaches seniors the piano, value of socialization

Keeping your mind active has proven to be one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, and a program at the University of Kentucky is helping older adults do just that. Known as mUsiKcare, the program is run through the UK School of Music and offers area residents over the age of 50 the chance to build their skills on the piano while also enjoying some mental health benefits, according to KyForward.com.

The program was launched thanks in large part to a $35,000 contribution from AARP, which was interested in seeing whether piano classes could have an impact on the social activity of seniors. Among those who are leading the project is Lori Gooding, the director of UK Music Therapy. She says that given the ample evidence in support of using music to maintain strong cognitive function, it seems reasonable to see whether it could impact the social lives of seniors as well.

"One of the things we wanted to incorporate in this class is socialization, because we know that being part of a group is important for their overall health and well-being," she told the news source. "It is important cognitively and it is important socially. It's something we wanted to actively engage them in and is why we chose to have piano classes and not individual piano lessons,"

Should the results point to benefits for socialization, it could open another path toward healthy aging. According to recent analysis from experts at Statistics Canada, an active social life is often cited by seniors as one of the most important factors for successful aging. Specifically, they found seniors who had a stronger network of friends and family experienced better satisfaction with life and fewer feelings of loneliness.