Lorenzo's House, Old Town School of Folk Music Take On Younger-Onset Dementia with New Class
illi News/10205523

CHICAGO - illiNews -- Research has shown that singing and using musical instruments can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with dementia.

This is the basis for a new initiative hosted by Old Town School of Folk Music and Lorenzo's House for individuals and families living with younger-onset dementia in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Called Music, Movement & Memory, the collaboration offers a series of interactive music classes that began early Fall and will continue through mid-December at the iconic Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 North Lincoln Ave, Chicago.

"This interactive experience allows music and expression to ignite the joy and personal connection in an inclusive and stimulating learning environment," said one carepartner in attendance. "Indeed, music can awaken the brain, and the rich trove of memories associated with familiar songs can anchor and ground someone with dementia or Alzheimer's."

Carepartners are encouraged to participate alongside their loved ones in the classes. A recent study found that music therapy classes can improve social engagement between a person with dementia and their loved ones, as well as decrease stress levels in carepartners.

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"This was upbeat and fun," said a carepartner who participated alongside their loved one. "We didn't need to have musical talent. No matter where we were cognitively, we could enjoy the experience. The energy, humor, and inclusiveness created a sense of community."

Classes are led by Chicago-based musician Lenny Marsh, an educator, and musician who has worked extensively with the Old Town School of Folk Music and within Chicago Public Schools. Our classes meet on the first Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 pm (December 6) and on third Saturdays at 11:00 am (November 19, December 17).

The curriculum includes playing along to classic hits, as well as learning how to play new songs together. This exercise of learning and practicing new skills in a group setting is extremely beneficial for individuals living with younger-onset dementia. The social and cognitive benefits that have been observed have spurred a fascinating and promising line of research that the program draws upon to inform its curriculum.

For more information about our series, go to:  Old Town School of Folk Music (https://www.oldtownschool.org/classes/detail/?courseid=7220)

To learn about the support Lorenzo's House provides for families with loved ones living with younger-onset dementia between the ages of 30-65 years old, please visit: lorenzoshouse.org

Amber Bobin

Source: Lorenzo's House

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