Freeman Vines: Aging in Isolation

inTheir Needson December 2, 2019

As our partner artists get older and they are unable to perform as much, if at all, due to aging related issues, they become susceptible to isolation. Research links isolation to a variety of physical and mental ailments, and these impacts are especially acute for senior citizens. Social isolation and loneliness are associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, and more. And isolation due to declining physical abilities is only one piece of the puzzle. The rural South can be a tough place to age, especially in places where disinvestment has occurred and infrastructure is limited. Few neighbors, no public transit, limited commercial activity, and declining populations are just some of the challenges facing the rural areas where many of our partner artists live.

As they age, Music Maker’s Sustenance Program becomes an even more vital resource for our partner artists to get the food and medicine they need, as well as the often overlooked support that comes in the form of a friendly phone call or visit. Music Maker’s Artist Support Specialist, Christelle Ndong, MSW, has found that her consistent check-ins with artists play a critical role in combating isolation and loneliness in this vulnerable population.

Freeman Vines is a perfect example of an artist that has benefitted from the friendship and expansion of social networks that form when Music Maker partners with an artist. Geographically isolated, Freeman had completely given up on making his unique guitars when we first met him in 2015. Since partnering, there has been a steady stream of visitors and appreciation for Freeman’s work who is now creating more guitars everyday.

”Music Maker gave me purpose, something to look forward to. Y’all coming down here to visit, that means a lot to me,” says Freeman.

For #GivingTuesday this year a generous group of supporters will match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000. Donate today and your gift will be doubled – https://musicmaker.org/donations

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