Singing and music ‘helps pensioners remember key events from their past’

MILLIONS of older pensioners find comfort in singing and music as special tunes help them to remember pivotal events from their past.


Elderly woman listening to musicGETTY

Special tunes help people remember pivotal events from their past


A reminder of the day they met their spouse, a lovely family occasion or their wedding day are just some of the memories brought back by a familiar musical refrain.

As many as 92 per cent say singing along to a favourite tune lifts their mood, 81 per cent think it keeps their mind active and 63 per cent say it helps them forget their health worries.

Many of the UK’s over 75s admit to forgetting lots of things, but they still remember the words of their favourite song (71 per cent) and more than half (53 per cent) say listening to music improves their memory.


My song is Make me Smile by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. That’s my childhood in a song. What seemed like endless summer days, growing up in Newquay, Cornwall

Phillip Schofield

As many as 4.3m of this age group attest to the power of music, according to the study conducted by the Royal Voluntary Service for their Sing Your Heart Out campaign.

The campaign is being backed by RVS celebrity ambassadors who have identified their own special song and its significance in their life.

Television presenter Phillip Schofield, said: “My song is Make me Smile by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. That’s my childhood in a song. What seemed like endless summer days, growing up in Newquay, Cornwall.

Phillip Schofield smilingGETTY

Phillip Schofield said his favourite song is ‘Make Me Smile’

“Playing on the beach, being late for tea having lost track of time and, blissfully, no mobile phones so I couldn’t check in even if I wanted to.”

Actress  who plays Hyacinth Bucket in the Keeping Up Appearances comedy, chose “Love’s Old Sweet Song by James Molloy sung by Sir Thomas Allen.

“This brings back memories of childhood for me and of listening to the grown-ups singing songs around the piano, especially at Christmas time,” she said.

Studies have already demonstrated the positive effect music and singing has on those suffering from dementia.

People who have difficulty remembering events which have just happened find singing stimulates a part of the brain which allows them to recall memories and emotions and enhance mental performance.

Dementia patientGETTY

More than half (53 per cent) of UK’s over 75 say listening to music improves their memory

The RVS is calling on choirs to join their Sing Your Heart Out fundraiser to raise money to support vulnerable older people through their love of singing.

Fiona Longhurst, director of fundraising for the charity, said: “Music and singing can have such a great impact on the life of an older person especially as it has the power to transport them back to a happy memory or make them forget about how they are feeling physically or mentally.

Actress Patricia RoutledgeGETTY

Actress Patricia Routledge chose ‘Love’s Old Sweet Song’

“We’ve seen first-hand how it can lift spirits or help those with dementia through the music related services we run for older people.

“We’re asking choirs to sing their hearts out and donate a performance to the RVS to enable us to help more older people in need of support.”

To find out more information or to register a choir, go to