Carol Rosenstein firmly believes that playing a musical instrument can “mend minds.” CNN reports that her nonprofit organization that uses music to help people battling with neurodegenerative diseases is now meeting the needs of older adults during COVID-19. In 2014, Carol founded Music Mends Minds after witnessing that her husband, who was battling Parkinson’s disease and dementia, found relief by playing music. Since then, she has created 20 bands that have improved the quality of life for more than 200 people. Now she turns to older adults impacted by the pandemic.

Carol is not alone in her belief that music can have positive impacts on the human brain; mounting scientific evidence shows that listening to and playing music can be beneficial for those with neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Michael Thaut from the University of Toronto explains this may partly be due to music being a complex auditory language that stimulates the brain in many different ways, like emotions, cognitive processes, and the motor system. There is also evidence that musical engagement can reduce confusion and agitation. Carol saw an opportunity to help more people, including older adults effected by the pandemic, and moved her organization’s programming online. Now participants meet several times a week and play music together. Each virtual session includes about 30 to 35 participants.

Carol plans to continue her work, because she believes it is crucial during these times when social isolation is common and stress levels are high, especially for the older population. Carol recognizes that many people are missing the human touch or smile, and music can relieve some of that stress.

Article written by Janis Sayer for the InvestigAge blog: https://www.matherinstitute.com/2020/11/26/playing-music-with-others-virtually-helps-older-adults-with-pandemic-stress/

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