Irwin was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2006, which later digressed into dementia. Carol and Irwin felt their lives slipping away while dealing with the adversities of Parkinson’s Disease and early dementia.
Carol and Irwin met and fell in love.
Carol enrolls Irwin in the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patient Care program. When he began playing the piano for participating students and adults, something miraculous happened. Within just weeks, it was clear that playing music empowered Irwin, who became more aware, responsive, confident, energetic, talkative and hopeful. Hope and life came back into their home after Irwin’s passion for music was reignited. Carol consulted with their neurologist who explained that “music may help stimulate increases in dopamine secretion from the brain for more sustained levels of energy and happiness.”
After witnessing the dramatic transformation in Irwin’s condition through playing music and recognizing how many people are suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, Carol knew she had to share her story. Inspired by Irwin and having always been a “fix-it” girl, Carol launched MMM and the organization’s inaugural band, The 5th Dementia. Soon, the caregivers and doctors of other band members began reporting substantial improvements as well.
New bands are being formed both nationally and internationally by people who have been inspired by our story. Intergenerational support has been proven to help prevent isolation and stimulate cognitive functioning, keeping seniors integrated with society and engaged in social life to help prevent the progression of dementia. Music Mends Minds continues to foster the development of bands and choirs of seniors with students to help forestall the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and related dementias.