Carleton launches Music Matters
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Carleton’s Health Sciences Prof. Renate Ysseldyk and students Noah Latchem, Anita Sengupta and Angela Paric have been studying the health benefits of Music Matters, an innovative music program pairing individuals living with dementia, their caregivers, and local musicians.
Music Matters began with a collaboration involving Ysseldyk, Jesse Stewart, associate professor of music, and Tracy Luciani, president of Artswell. For eight weeks at Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital, several individuals living with dementia and their caregivers from across Ottawa gathered to make music, reminiscence about the past and connect with others.
The program has evolved into much more than anyone had expected. Old friends were reunited, memories were recounted, poetry and songs were composed and impromptu dance solos blossomed. Participants even put on a showcase of their work at the National Arts Centre.
Music-making is increasingly recognized as a cognitively demanding process that is beneficial to brain function, one that could be particularly useful in slowing cognitive decline among healthy older individuals, as well as those with age-related diseases such as dementia. The social element inherent in making music as a group also fosters emotional regulation, social connectedness and improved health.
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