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MUSIC AND MEMORY Joie Jamison, a senior at Memorial High School, organized a concert that raised funds for Music and Memory programs in nursing homes. (Photo: Houston Youth Symphony)
Inspiration, once received, should always be shared. I received mine two years ago after watching Alive Inside, an award-winning documentary about the power of music to restore memories and improve quality of life in patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Music is not only a universal language. It is also scientifically proven to activate more parts of the human brain than any other stimulus. A familiar tune can take someone back decades in an instant, bringing them comfort and a sense of self. That is the goal of the Music and Memory program, a national non-profit organization that provides iPods with personalized music to nursing home patients with dementia. This disease is truly devastating for many elders, as well as their loved ones, and bringing music into their lives brightens their days and lifts their spirits. As a volunteer for nursing homes and hospice, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible awakening some patients experience when they hear favorite songs from their youth.
On June 9, for Alzheimer’s Awareness month, students and music teachers from Memorial and Stratford high schools, Frostwood and Rummel Creek elementary schools, and an ensemble from the Houston Youth Symphony performed together at the First Annual Music and Memory Benefit concert. It was amazing to watch all of the volunteers come together for the cause and the enthusiasm of people learning about it for the first time. It seems everyone had a personal story to share about someone they knew affected by the disease, and that made our fundraising efforts that much more special.
All the money raised will now go back to Music and Memory programs in our local nursing homes. I also hope to start a club at MHS that brings student volunteers to elders so they can enjoy music together. Being present, attentive and warm to people in need is as big a gift as the music. I am grateful and astounded by the support the program has received so far, and I hope it continues to grow!
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