'Powerful and so transformative.' Young at Heart concert series in Stony Brook helps seniors with memory loss
The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook is using music to help seniors suffering from memory loss.
The Young at Heart concert series offers an afternoon musical trip down memory lane for audiences once a month.
"Music is therapeutic and so powerful and so transformative," says Tom Manuel, founder of The Jazz Loft.
Manuel says he has seen people that are non-verbal remembering songs and smiling 20 minutes into the concert.
Studies show that the part of the brain that allows a person to enjoy music is preserved even as cognitive areas of the brain decline with age.
"If a patient or elderly people who have memory issues hear the music that they remember when they were 14, 15 years old, they have a lot of memories associated with it," says Markus Riessland, assistant professor at Stony Brook University.
"They come back and they're present again even though other memories might be lost."
Music is not the cure-all for dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other forms of memory loss - but seniors attending the concert say it's great for the mind and soul.
"It makes me feel happy and it makes you feel like having that music around again," says Joan Nappy, of Smithtown. "I'm 90 and that's music from my time."
The Young at Heart concert series offers a different musical theme every month.