There are some songs that are so ingrained in your mind that they become a part of you. When you hear them, vivid memories come flooding back. According to the latest Alzheimer’s research, music therapy brings back memories and feelings of familiarity and increases emotion for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It can also help manage stress, shift mood and stimulate positive interactions, decreasing their need for medications.
For the last two years, Tino Negri, community volunteer, National Certified Alzheimer’s Educator and owner of ComForCare Senior Services, has brought the joy of music to residents at Tequesta Terrace Assisted Living once a month in an interactive and highly stimulating way. He pours his heart out and wakes up the residents’ senses. Negri has helped develop a type of therapeutic music program specialized for memory care residents that allows them to sing, dance and play instruments together called “Joyful Memories.” Through his dedication, the residents’ spirits are lifted and their loved ones see glimpses of the people they knew and loved. Tequesta Terrace recently honored Negri for his commitment and time during National Volunteer Appreciation Week with an award ceremony and party.
“Tequesta Terrace is a community that feels like home, and when I’m able to get the residents laughing and having fun along with the music, there’s no other feeling like lifting these seniors’ spirits,” said Negri. “I’m not a doctor or a therapist, but I truly believe that where medicine falls short, I know music, laughter and a big hug can cure someone’s soul. You can never overdose on it, it doesn’t cost you anything and there are no bad side effects.”
Throughout the 45-minute activity, Negri focuses on music from time periods the seniors grew up with, including patriotic, folk and classic Americana music from the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s.To get the group in the spirit, he brings percussion instruments like tambourines and maracas to engage the residents.
“We are proud to present Tino with our Volunteer Award,” said Lisa Gallagher, executive director at Tequesta Terrace Assisted Living. “His visits are something our community looks forward to, and it makes such a difference in the residents’ lives when they interact with him through music. Anyone can press “play” on an iPod, but Tino is what makes the program so beneficial for our residents. He’s an irreplaceable asset to our whole community.”
“I am honored to be recognized by Tequesta Terrace and am thankful to have found a community where I can combine two of my life’s passions: music and caring for people. After seeing my grandmother battle dementia, I’m glad I can help improve the quality of life for others battling this disease. It’s hard to grow tired of doing something that brings people so much joy.”