RESEARCH behind Carmen Sings! Project:

According to United Nations (2017) the global population aged 60 years or over numbered 962 million in 2017, more than twice as large as in 1980 when there were 382 million older persons worldwide. The number of older persons is expected to double again by 2050, when it is projected to reach nearly 2.1 billion. In addition, according to the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry (2008), it is estimated that 20% of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder). Mental health issues are often implicated as a factor in cases of suicide. The challenges facing our society as we learn to cope with an aging population are many. Perhaps one of the more critical issues centers on the question of quality of life. Of what value is a gain in life expectancy if the added years do not contribute to a sense of well-being and happiness? Music certainly can play a central role in a healthy and active life style for the elderly and music has been found to stimulate parts of the brain, and studies have demonstrated that music enhances the memory of Alzheimer's and dementia patients, including a study conducted at UC Irvine, which showed that scores on memory tests of Alzheimer's patients improved when they listened to classical music.