Music is Good Medicine Pt. 1

Music is Good Medicine Part 1
By Patty Castillo Davis

Many people’s lives have been altered by COVID19. Social media and news outlets have focused to a great degree on the implications of the virus in regard to mental health and offering recommendations on how to preserve well being. One particular group we should keep in mind during this challenging time is our elder adults, whose routines and usual support systems may be disrupted.
On May 8 I was invited to perform an outdoor strolling serenade at the Glenwood Senior Community in Modesto by the Event Coordinator, Alice T Runnels. My take away was from the perspective of a provider and someone who is generations and circumstances away from what the residents experience throughout their daily lives. I was met with overwhelming hospitality and appreciation and left feeling confirmation about what music creates when it is shared. It is very important to reiterate the power of melody and it’s healing effects. With Alice’s help, I posed two questions to my audience. How has isolation affected you? What did listening to live music mean to you? With deep admiration and the cooperation of a handful of these residents, I’ve been allowed to share their personal statements. Poignant and hopeful, here’s what they had to say-
Iris Medina felt the quarantine “makes me sad!” She expressed that the serenade,” made me happy to walk, sing along and dance at a distance as she made the community happy with her singing.”
Carol Ford said, “I live alone and I am bored and lonely all the time.” “It was great, she has a beautiful voice, it lifted my spirits and I was happy to interact with someone other than myself, even at a distance- I hope she returns.”
Patty Murray stated that isolation makes her “feel horrible, I miss going shopping, interacting with my friends at Glenwood during the potlucks.” On the other side, Murray felt that experiencing the live performance changed her whole attitude and “put a smile on my face for the rest of the day-we MUST do it again!”
Frank Martinez explained, “I live by myself with my dog Daisy, who is great company, but after a while, the walls start closing in on you.” About the strolling serenade, Martinez stated,” Thank you, Patty, listening to your beautiful singing made me relive my moments with my musical family. My Grandson Brock is a wonderful musician and your guitar playing and singing reminded me how lucky I am to have such a great family. Music is good for the soul and made this old man happy.”
Musicians, continue your live-streams, keep posting videos and reaching out, whether you realize it or not, what you have to put forth will speak to someone at a time when they need it the most-“even at a distance.”
Many thanks to Alice T Runnels for her partnership in coordinating and bringing this experience to life for everyone involved.
It was a privilege to be a part of some artistic exploration and to create a community during a time of separation and uncertainty. To see how you can assist Seniors at this time please join Modesto Area Covid-19 Support on Facebook and the hotline at 833-544-2374 for a list of resources by the state of California. #aparttogether

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