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12.09.21 | Arts & Culture

The Power of Music

There are many ways older adults can keep their minds sharp as they age, including scrapbooking, mentoring or even owning a pet. However, one of the most significant ways to actively exercise the brain is simply by listening to music. Many of us will play our favorite song or put background music on without any thought, but the melodic sounds have the power to stimulate our brains unlike anything else. 

Music and The Brain

If you’re seeking to retain your brain’s powerhouse abilities with age, John Hopkins Medicine affirms that listening to or playing music is an extremely powerful tool in doing so. What many don’t understand is that when we listen to music, mathematical puzzles are simultaneously being performed in our heads. With each note that passes through our ears, our brain toils to compute how it connects to each previous sound.

The unique tool can help assist in gathering memories that have felt lost in time. Sometimes a specific song will have the power to transport you to a specific moment in history; that’s because studies have discovered that music has the power to attract itself to memories, and with that, improve cognitive skills, and recognition and working memory. 

Engaging with music frequently has the ability to retrieve forgotten memories for older adults living with diseases contributing to memory loss and reduce anxiety, depression and pain in those who are battling other disabilities, like PTSD. 

The Intersection of Music and Medicine

Experts are continuously trying to understand where music fits in with medical treatment. Robert Gupta, violinist and social justice activist, has been a chameleon in both the music and medical industry nearly his whole life. Now, after realizing he can be involved in both of his passions, Gupta is finally understanding the sheer power music has in succeeding in areas where traditional western medicine isn’t able to reach, especially for vulnerable communities. Explore more in Gupta’s TED Talk here: 


Instilling Music in Your Life

Although the easiest way to integrate music into your life is by simply pressing play on your favorite album, there are numerous other ways you can reap its benefits at home and within your community. Attending concerts and musicals, in person or through a virtual environment like your television, are perfect ways to stimulate your brain while entertaining everyone in the room. 

While listening to music is just one of the ways you can engage with the effective tool, playing an instrument and singing produces even more marvel responses. Music groups are excellent ways to enjoy the sounds of music while also engaging with those around you in meaningful ways. They can be found anywhere from community-organized troops to the choir at your local church.

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03.02.21 | Health & Wellness

Chicago COVID-19 Vaccination: Where We’re At Now

Earlier this year, we shared a blog post on what to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. Now that vaccine rollouts have been occurring nationwide, one of the biggest hurdles outside of deployment is ensuring that we, the people, feel informed and equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to make decisions about our own vaccination. In support of that, today we’re providing an update on COVID-19 vaccination in Chicago, and where things stand now:

Understanding the State’s Phased Rollout

Illinois is administering vaccinations in a phased rollout plan — you can read the state’s  comprehensive coverage of its vaccine distribution phases here. As of January 25th, Illinois entered Phase 1B: Frontline Essential. This phase made the vaccine available to all non-healthcare residential settings and Chicagoans age 65 and older.

According to Chicago, all non-healthcare residential settings includes homeless shelters, women’s shelters, adult day care programs, correctional settings (jail officers, juvenile facility staff, workers providing in-person support, detainees), and other non-health care residential settings that have experienced outbreaks (e.g. convents). 

But as of February 25th, Illinois progressed further into Phase 1B Plus. This extended phase includes people (16 years of age and older) with certain underlying conditions and comorbidities. The list of conditions includes cancer, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), diabetes, heart condition, immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant, obesity, pregnancy, pulmonary disease and sickle cell disease. 

However, it is important to note that Chicago will NOT be joining the rest of Illinois in progressing to Phase 1B Plus at this time. Due to the city’s population density, more than 95,000 Chicago residents would become eligible if we were to expand under the state’s guidelines. Therefore, the city has decided to hold off on progressing to this next stage until it is able to more fully serve those who fall into the initial Phase 1B.

Looking at Current and Future Benchmarks

According to the Illinois COVID-19 vaccine tracker, as of Wednesday, February 24th: 28,626 additional people have been fully vaccinated for a total of 619,480 — 4.86% of the state’s population.

As of that same date, 5% of all White Illinoisians have been fully vaccinated, 2% of all Hispanic Illinoisians have been fully vaccinated and 2% of all Black Illinoisians have been fully vaccinated. Chicago is seeing similar disparities: as of that same date, 6% of all White Chicagoans have been fully vaccinated, 2% of all Hispanic Illinoisians have been fully vaccinated and 3% of all Black Chicagoans have been fully vaccinated.

You can stay up-to-date on the state’s vaccination rates here.

Looking ahead: according to Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois expects to begin administering an average of 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 per day by mid-March.

Stay tuned for more COVID-19 vaccination updates and insights from Sage Collective.

A vaccine shot being inserted into a Black patient's arm
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