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EVERY 3 SECONDS, SOMEONE IN THE WORLD IS DIAGNOSED WITH DEMENTIA (WWW.ALZ.ORG/FACTS).
EVERY 65 SECONDS, SOMEONE IN THE U.S. DEVELOPS ALZHEIMER’S. (WWW.ALZ.ORG/FACTS).
PARKINSON’S DISEASE AFFECTS 1 MILLION AMERICANS, COSTING $25 BILLION EVERY YEAR (WWW.PARKINSON.ORG).
Music Mends Minds (MMM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates musical support groups and bands for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and PTSD. These musical support groups foster a community between the musicians and singers, as well as their families, friends, and caregivers, all of whom thrive on the socialization and music-making. MMM also aims to educate the community and public about the latest scientific findings regarding the benefits of music and the brain through several platforms, including online and in print resources. Today, some medical researchers consider music the “new frontier” for treating dementia and managing the symptoms of other neurological/psychological disorders, and MMM is at the forefront of this organic movement, utilizing music to lift the spirits and change the brain chemistry of patients.
MMM was founded by Los Angeles-based retiree Carol Rosenstein, a former chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, who holds a master’s degree in psychology, and helped pioneer holistic medicine as it is practiced today. Her husband, Irwin, is now 84 and has suffered with dementia and Parkinson’s for the past 15 years. Carol and Irwin met in 1985.
In 2014, Carol enrolled Irwin in the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patient Care program. When he began playing the piano for participating students and adults, something miraculous happened. It was clear that playing music empowered Irwin, who became more aware, responsive, confident, energetic, talkative, and hopeful after just a few weeks.
Says Carol of their journey, “I feel so blessed to have my buddy back and a quality of life that was missing in our home for a very long time. Ours was a love story that I thought was over, but now continues ... just to a little different beat. Playing music creates such excitement, that it alters the chemistry of the brain by causing the release of natural dopamine, which controls movement, mood, and cognition. Music not only mends minds, but families and relationships. I like to say it restores the rhythm of life and I want to share that medicine with others.”
Inspired by the dramatic transformation in Irwin’s condition through playing music and socializing, Carol launched MMM and the organization’s inaugural band, The 5th Dementia, in August 2014. Soon, the caregivers and doctors of other band members began reporting substantial improvements as well. Hear the 5th Dementia in concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQPbIRo9J7E
Today, new bands are being formed both nationally and internationally by people who have been inspired by our story. Rotary International Clubs have taken on MMM as their service projects and as part of their community outreach across the globe. Other organizations, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, have launched bands through their Home for Heroes program, founding o;The Band of Heroes” in West Los Angeles. There are a total of 18 bands worldwide, with many more to come!#x2F;p>
Researchers are also supporting the idea that music is powerful medicine. Music memories seem to be stored and accessed differently than our “declarative” or event-specific memories. Even individuals with cognitive and memory deficits find their musical memories are intact.
Integrating familiar songs with personal experiences has been shown to help and motivate individuals who struggle to retrieve and process their personal lives and memories (Fraile et al, 2019).
MMM continues to support this new frontier of the scientific relationship between music and the brain, and vows to educate our audience and outreach with the latest information regarding its various health benefits.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, MMM has now moved to an online global platform through Zoom led by our Board-Certified Music Therapist, where our seniors and their caregivers can enjoy music-making and socialization from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM PST.
This is a FREE SERVICE for anybody to join in on the fun!
To join our Zoom sessions, please click the link below:
(If you do not have Zoom installed, you will be prompted to install Zoom—follow the on-screen instructions and click the link again to join)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MMM, CONTACT CAROL AT: 818-326-0500 OR INFO@MUSICMENDSMINDS.ORG
5th Dementia Band in Concert
II've Got Rhythm - 5th Dementia Band
Music Mends Minds Theme Song