CARMEL – Cristine Jozan’s 97-year-old father, Gerardo Frassino, moved into her Carmel home after her mother died.
While he has Alzheimer’s disease and his ability to communicate in English is very limited, she says he remains very receptive to music.
“Like a lot of people, he likes to sing, he likes to dance,” Jozan said. “He comes alive when he hears music, even in the car. If we hear a song, he’s there tapping his hands and swaying.”
Jozan said both she and her father enjoy attending the monthly Mahopac Music Social at the Mahopac Library with Music Therapist Melinda Burgard.
“It’s something he looks forward to. He remembers that he enjoys going there,” she said. “It gives us something to do, and he enjoys it so much.”
The Alzheimer’s Association Music Socials offered around the Hudson Valley are designed to give people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and their family caregivers a fun opportunity to get out and socialize in a safe and understanding environment.
“Besides being entertaining, it’s interactive. He’s socializing with people his own age and other ages,” Jozan said. “It helps keep him agile and mobile. I’m sorry it’s only once a month.”
Participants are encouraged to sing along and play a variety of percussion instruments ranging from the tambourine to glockenspiel. Burgard may invite them to join her at the piano or they may dance to the music.
“He was pretty good,” Jozan said of her father’s piano playing. “He never played the piano in his life. I didn’t really ever see him dancing… Here he dances. It’s really good.”
She said the socials are a lifeline to them, since there aren’t many activities available that she can share with her father.
“If you’re a little kid, there’s always something to do, but when you have an older person you’re caring for, there’s really not that many things that you can go to.”
The Mahopac Music Social is held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month. Participation is free, but preregistration is required. To participate, call 800-272-3900 with questions or to RSVP.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org/hudsonvalley or call 800-272-3900.