Choir enhances lives of Alzheimer's patients

August 19, 2011 12:38:50 PM PDT
Millions of people live with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia related illnesses. Many of these people live at home with their caregivers, however, one amazing project is attempting to document how their lives can be emotionally comforted and enhanced.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that art based therapies can enhance the wellbeing not only of patients but also their caregivers. One researcher has put together a unique chorus of middle aged and elder patients at different stages of memory and cognitive loss, who have either a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or beginning dementia. The choir also includes their caregivers, including husbands, partners, wives and daughters.

The choir is named "The Unforgettables", and their public concert is coming up in a few weeks. But for these patients, the joy of an upcoming concert is in the journey, or in the coming together just to sing.

The founder, NYU Medical Center scientist Dr. Mary Mittelman, says that there are theories that music actually activates parts of the brain that dementia does not touch until the later stages.

Dr. Mittelman is also measuring things like depression and communication to try to prove that a choir in their lives can make a difference. However, the choir's continuance lies in their ability to find funds.

The choir's concert is at St. Peter's Church on Lexington Avenue at 54th Street in Manhattan on September 1st at 3:00 p.m.