“My heart gets bigger from being there,” says Certified Music Therapist Melinda Burgard, who oversees the Alzheimer’s Association’s Music Socials programs in Westchester. “People are talking to each other, enjoying dancing, and it’s especially helpful when you don’t have the words to express yourself,” she continues.
At these music socials, family caregivers find a supportive environment and see the healthy side of their loved one. During a recent session, Burgard was particularly moved when a participant shared with her that, “Something beautiful is growing from this [the music],” as he started to recall memories from his childhood that he thought were forever forgotten.
People with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s, along with a family member, come to the socials to enjoy music and forge new friendships. At these interactive groups, participants are encouraged to reminisce and find joy in exploring their musical connections. Burgard introduces them to new instruments or may even share a duet on the piano.
The current program, running through December at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, is Music and the Hudson Valley. Subjects include musicians who have lived in the area, Woodstock, live musical theater, and Pete Seeger. No musical experience is required; join any time.
Call 914-253-6860 for more information and to register; alz.org/hudsonvalley