On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, young union activists showed up at a Leesburg senior center to deliver…iPods? Members of Northern Virginia Young Emerging Labor Leaders (NOVA YELL) partnered with Music and Memory to donate 20 iPods to help improve the lives of those suffering with age-related cognitive disorders. “It’s inspiring to know that something as simple as connecting people with music from their past can improve their quality of life in such dramatic and varied ways,” said Julie Hunter (OPEIU). Cacci Greenfield (CWA) added, “You just see people’s faces light up and a part of them wakes up. It was also moving to hear their loved ones talk about the difference it makes.”
Music and Memory works with elder care centers to bring personalized music to seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. A documentary about the program - Alive Inside - won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film festival with this clip going viral:
Through contributions from the Northern Virginia labor movement, NOVA YELL raised $1,200 to provide access to the Music and Memory program to Heritage Hall in Leesburg. Union activists from NFFE-IAM, IUEC, OPEIU, and CWA spent Saturday afternoon meeting with volunteers and residents to witness the program first-hand.
“This is personal for me,” said Brandon Dillard (CWA). “My grandmother has early stages of Alzheimer’s. After seeing the impact of this program, my cousins and I are going to get her an iPad set up with her music so she can connect with memories from her past and hopefully delay the effects of this illness.”
“This is just the beginning,” said Randy Erwin (NFFE-IAM). “We look forward to sharing our experience and working with Music and Memory to help more seniors who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.” NOVA YELL thanked the local unions and labor activists who donated to the project.
“Just know that every one of those iPods is a smile on one of these residents' faces,” said J. S. Parker Jones IV, CNHA, FACHCA, CAS, the Administrator at the Heritage Hall Nursing & Rehab Center.
photos courtesy Julie Hunter