Wis. man helps wife fight Alzheimer’s with music

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – While many people have experienced the way music can brighten a day or heal a broken heart, one couple believes that a beautiful song can also fight disease.

Jill McGlauchlin and Joe McNally is the husband-and-wife musician duo known as the Jaybirds. With McGlauchlin on the fiddle and McNally on the banjo, the two share their music almost every day with residents at Eden Vista, an assisted living facility in Madison.

“We’ll take turns. I’ll pick a tune, then he’ll pick a tune,” McGlauchlin said. Her husband of 46 years added, “It’s following my bliss.”

McGlauchlin is also a resident at Eden Vista. She moved there after learning about her Alzheimer’s in 2018.

“It’s a challenge on a daily basis,” McNally said. “But coming here and playing music just kind of makes my day.”

He said he is inspired by the Greek goddess of music, whose mother is the goddess of memory. “I believe that music fights Alzheimer’s. I see Euterpe as the arch enemy of dementia.”

Musical memories often stay with Alzheimer’s patients, the Mayo Clinic wrote online. That’s because “key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.”

Research also suggests that listening to or singing songs can have emotional and behavioral benefits for patients.

McNally now wants to share his music with people outside Eden Vista. He hopes to record his musical sessions so that people around the world can hear them.

If you want to financially support their project, you can find their GoFundMe page here.

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