Music Mends Minds (MMM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates musical support group 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 our community and public about the latest scientific findings regarding the benefits of music on the brain through several platforms including online and in print resources.
Research shows that music memory remains intact for these patients. In spite of their disease process, their ability to play music and recollect lyrics is maintained. This empowers our seniors, increasing their self-worth, confidence and identity. They feel whole and healthy again in the midst of making music.
Our vision is to build musical support groups in an effort to use music as “medicine for the mind”, while creating social networks crucial to our members’ wellbeing and joy. Our organization is four years old and we are growing rapidly. We have launched a total of 17 active bands worldwide including our flagship band, "The 5th Dementia", "The Beverly Hills Treble Makers", and the "Band of Heroes" at the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus. We have several additional bands in the making. Our mission also includes an intergenerational component, which brings students to make music with our seniors. This fosters a valuable relationship of mutual empowerment, engagement and enjoyment.
As our population ages, we are facing a pandemic of seniors with neurological diseases including dementia. This escalates our healthcare costs dramatically. Music Mends Minds is at the forefront of providing a unique and novel service, helping our musicians and singers age in place (able to remain at home with their loved ones), while scientific research continues to prove the power of music.
Carol and Irwin Rosenstein founded this organization after their own success story with music and social support. Irwin, who practiced real estate law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and early dementia in 2006. Until recently, the Rosenstein’s felt their lives slipping away while dealing with the adversities of Parkinson’s Disease and early dementia. Hope and life came back into their home after Irwin’s passion for music was reignited by participating in TimeOut @UCLA, an intergenerational respite care program that connected students and seniors. Irwin’s memory, energy, and outlook on life improved dramatically, not only from playing the piano, but from mentoring the students – his new purpose in life.
Intergenerational support has been proven to help prevent isolation and stimulate cognitive functioning, keeping seniors integrated in society and engaged in social life to help prevent the progression of dementia. Mrs. Rosenstein noticed Irwin’s dramatic change and 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.” In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, music is a powerful medicine because it has multiple facets of healing through the mind and body. It can also help alleviate the perception of pain and stress because it is associated with relaxation through lower cortisol hormone levels. Most importantly, the APA explains that music may ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s because it has the potential to improve movement coordination through the healing power of vibroacoustics (the process of hearing sound vibrations through the body).
For these reasons, the Rosenstein’s wished to combine the powers of intergenerational support and music therapy to create an organization, MusicMendsMinds, Inc., which fosters the development of bands and choirs of seniors and students to help forestall the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and related dementias.
MusicMendsMinds, Inc.'s first band, The 5th Dementia, has rehearsals taking place at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church. The Rosenstein’s are looking for bright musical students and seniors with cognitive decline. If you or someone you know is interested in joining one of our musical support groups or supporting the organization, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.