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2021 Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders (GBHI)

Serenatas for Tucson: A house-calls music program for Latino older adults

Jennie Gubner, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ - United States

According to the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, Hispanics/Latinos are about one and one-half times more likely to develop dementia as older whites. As a result, communities and health care systems are in need of creative and culturally diverse strategies to meet the caregiving needs of individuals with dementia. Dr. Jennie Gubner will design and implement an intergenerational house-calls serenade program at the University of Arizona that uses Latin American traditions to promote brain function and wellbeing in populations with culturally-specific approaches. Through this program, Dr. Gubner will establish a Latin American popular music ensemble at the University of Arizona to train students and community members to perform serenades. She will build the house-calls serenade program that sends students to sing serenades to community-dwelling Latino older adults at risk of loneliness and social isolation in conjunction with home care medicine programs. Additionally, she will create a short bilingual film about the serenade house-calls program to encourage intercultural, intergenerational, and creative approaches to music and brain function initiatives across the U.S. and Latin America. To develop this film, Dr. Gubner will conduct interviews with serenade recipients, ensemble members and local cultural experts. If successful, the study results could lay the groundwork for future creative aging research and outreach in Tucson, promote curriculum development about arts and aging at the University of Arizona, and create age-friendly societies.

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