Arts & The Healing Process

January 4, 2013 in Latest News

SCENE Sarasota  

by Steven J. Smith

The devastating maladies of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other debilitating conditions related to the aging process have all too often spelled an unhappy and undignified end to the lives of countless seniors — until the advent and implementation of foundations whose programs have begun to integrate the arts with medical advancements, which now help more and more patients gain a new lease on life.

“The NCF provides what we call integrative medicine services,” Bell said. “These are services that look at the medical, social and support needs of people with Parkinson’s.” Recently this charitable organization partnered with the Key Chorale of Sarasota, the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota and the Sarasota Memorial Institute for Advanced Medicine to form the Off-Key Chorale — a chorus comprised of 25 PD patients along with another 10-15 caregivers and Key Chorale volunteers — to combine vocalization exercises with socialization activities. Bell approached Key Chorale Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins — who in turn contacted accompanist and Artist Series Concerts Co-Founder Lee Dougherty Ross — with the aim of offering choral singing as therapy for PD patients. And it worked.

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