Music has the power to soothe the mind and heal the soul. That’s why I’m pleased to announce the seventh annual Broadway Alzheimer’s iPod Drive, which runs from Aug. 1 to 19. As some of you know, my mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was stripped of awareness and language for the three years prior to her death in 2014. But before her passing, I had introduced my mom to an iPod filled with her favorite music, and I watched her sing words that I hadn’t heard her speak in years. Sadly my father passed away this April suffering in the same confusion and fog of this horrible disease.
My original inspiration for the iPod drive was the Sundance-winning documentary “Alive Inside,” which follows the work of Dan Cohen and his organization Music & Memory (www.musicandmemory.org). Dan is a trained social worker with a background in technology. He realized there was a perfect marriage to be had with both. Dan has been spending the better part of a decade introducing iPods into facilities that care for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. He creates custom playlists that speak specifically to each individual patient to help them recall memories and emotions from their past. The results are absolutely astounding! Since their inception, Music & Memory’s program now exists in over 5,000 healthcare sites worldwide!
In the documentary, Dan relates the frustrations of trying to convince institutions to spend the minuscule money on listening devices only to find they were much more inclined to spend thousands more on psychotropic drugs to sedate these patients. That really resonated with me. I knew that there was something I could do – and more importantly, there was something my community of fellow musicians and artists could do.
So once again this year, the Alzheimer’s organization CaringKind NYC and all of Broadway on stage and in the pits are helping to spread the word about this amazing project. But we aren’t just asking for existing iPods this year. Since a smaller number of us use these devices, you can also donate monetarily to support the program. Not only will this go to the use of music in healthcare facilities but also for individual families implementing the program in their own homes. See www.musicandmemory.org/donate-now. We ask that you write “Broadway Alzheimer’s iPod Drive” in the “in honor of” section of the donation page to help us track our efforts. And this year we are announcing a really exciting new effort to help a loved one create an impactful musical playlist. Please visit musicandmemory.org/tratining-publications/request-guide to request a guide with helpful tips to create a personalized playlist. See below for more information about donating your used iPod.
Local 802 member Dave Roth is a freelance percussionist and performs frequently in Broadway pits.
DONATE YOUR iPOD TO ALZHEIMER’S PATIENTS
Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 19, you can bring your new or used iPod and charger directly to the Local 802 building, at 322 West 48th Street. Please bring it up to the president’s office on the fifth floor and ask for Robin or Tara.
To contribute toward the purchase of an iPod or music please visit www.musicandmemory.org/donate-now. (Make sure you write “Broadway Alzheimer’s iPod Drive” in the “in honor of” section of the donation form.)
You can also drop off or send your new or used iPod and charger anytime to:
Broadway Alzheimer’s iPod Drive
CaringKind, “The Heart Of Alzheimer’s Caregiving”
360 Lexington Ave., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017