Benevilla has found a fun and innovative way to bring excitement and fun to the programs at their Restorative Life Enrichment Program in Sun City. They are partnering with Sun Joo Lee of the Tremble Clefs musical group to bring music therapy with a twist addressing the cognitive and communication obstacles associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Doctor’s diagnose 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s every year. The neuro-degenerative disease can be isolating and cause many patients to become depressed. When individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) work with a music therapist they can see improvements in movement and agility, speech, cognitive issues and overall mental health.
The Benevilla Restorative Life Enrichment Day Program is designed for those who have Parkinson’s, early to moderate Alzheimer’s or other dementia, are a survivor of a stroke, or have had a fall-related injury. This program offers specially designed exercise equipment and staff trained in Restorative Therapy. The focus of Restorative Care is on each person’s potential rather than on a diagnosis or limitations. By creating a team approach of personalized, short-term, and achievable goals, members are encouraged to reach and maintain their highest level of function. A registered nurse provides medical oversight. The Benevilla Restorative Life Enrichment Day Program promotes activity, mobility and independence to increase muscle strength and balance, enhance confidence and self-esteem.
Overall, the program focuses on preventing physical and cognitive deterioration wherever possible.
The integration of music therapy has grown in popularity over the past few years. Singing offers natural therapeutic value for many of the physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Singing also provides the focus for a group of people with Parkinson’s, and their partners, to share in a joyful activity and work toward a common goal. “Those with Parkinson’s often experience a deterioration of muscle skill and ability over time: swallowing, balancing, walking, writing, etc., becomes more difficult. Their voice and posture deteriorate, and the person loses the ability to speak out. Singing not only improves body and brain function but strengthens the vocal cords” states Lisa Minette, Senior Director of Life Enrichment for Benevilla.
The original Tremble Clefs in Scottsdale was founded in 1994 by Karen Hesley, a speech therapist, to enhance voice volume through singing. In 2008, the West Side Tremble Clefs was founded by Sun Joo Lee, a former opera singer from Korea and volunteers in the West Valley. Ms. Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and has an undergraduate degree from SungShin Women’s University in Seoul. She moved to Arizona in 2003 to study voice and music therapy and earned two master’s degrees from Arizona State University in 2008. Upon graduation Sun Joo was approached by the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix to establish a singing group for people with Parkinson’s disease in the Sun City area. Currently, Sun Joo Lee works as a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) for people with Neurological Disease and teaches voice and piano.