As the community’s need for its services grows, one local nonprofit is seeking additional volunteers.
Launched and led by high school students, Movements for the Mind is an organization devoted to helping seniors with dementia through the use of music and art. Due to the expansion, organizers are looking for additional volunteers to send videos to the seniors and help organize activities.
According to co-founder Mira Rajagopalan, an Amador Valley High School sophomore, the group is mostly looking for teenagers to join the organization, but people of any age are welcome to volunteer.
“Volunteers do not need any background in caregiving or working with elders; they just have to be interested in art or music and helping our elders,” she said. “Some traits that we look for are patience, empathy and compassion.”
By volunteering with Movements for the Mind, teenagers can put their skills in art or music to the use for a good cause. According to Anushka Rajasekhar, another sophomore and co-founder, the most fulfilling part of volunteering has been sharing her passion for music to connect with seniors and let them know they’re not alone. Movements for the Mind also gives students the opportunity to meet new people and bridge the generational gap.
The organization started last summer when Rajagopalan and Rajasekhar were looking for a way to give back to their community. Their personal experiences helped shape Movement for the Mind’s direction.
“I live with my grandma who has dementia, and I saw how it affected her mobility and mental health,” said Rajagopalan. “Through this organization, we hope to provide some relief and brighten up their days through art and music therapy.”
Rajasekhar said she found motivation to help start Movements for the Mind after reading about dementia and seeing it affect her close friends and family. Especially during the pandemic, seniors in isolation need support, and she and her friends have the free time to help, she said.
Members of the organization aid dementia patients by sending videos of them playing music or creating art to local senior centers. They also host Zoom calls with the seniors to teach them art or play music live.
“Music and art are great ways to connect with seniors facing memory loss, and it can help them express their emotions and just relax,” said Rajasekhar. “It is also difficult for them to get much social interaction during this time, and this is a great way to reach out.”
Studies have shown music and art therapy have the ability to improve cognitive function in people living with dementia. Although the music and art therapy isn’t a cure, it can help ease the effects of dementia.
“The most fulfilling part for me is getting to know new people and make impactful connections,” Rajagopalan concluded.
To volunteer or learn more, visit http://bit.ly/Indy_M4M.