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Alzheimer's Association Offers Musical Social Programs

Certified Music Therapist Melinda Burgard leads a rhythmic clapping activity during a recent Music Social Program at the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick.
Certified Music Therapist Melinda Burgard leads a rhythmic clapping activity during a recent Music Social Program at the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick. Photo Credit: Submitted

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter will begin offering its Music School Programs in Dutchess and Ulster counties this spring.

“This is my passion, working with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am really excited to be expanding so much,” said Melinda Burgard, certified music therapist/New York State licensed creative arts therapist, who oversees the sessions.

The programs are currently offered in Orange County and provide a safe, therapeutic place for participants with Alzheimer's and family caregivers to enjoy music and form new friendships.

“It becomes a kind of support group,” Burgard said. “Caregivers get to see their loved one happy and functioning.”

Participants are encouraged to play and share instruments, with program direction differing from session to session depending on their interests on a given day.

“I work in a gestalt moment,” Burgard said. “If someone says something, I might start a trail of songs about what they’re talking about so they can get their emotion out and know that they’re heard. It’s just validating their emotions.”

Music Social Program for people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers will be held from 2 to 3:30 on the first Tuesday of every month at Braemar at Wallkill and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at Mahopac Public Library.

Middle-stage Music School Programs will take place at the following places and times:

  • Wingate at Dutchess in Fishkill: the fourth Thursday of every month from 2 to 3:30 p.m. beginning March 24
  • Wingate at Ulster in Highland: the first Thursday of every month beginning April 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Rhinebeck Room at Glen Arden: the second Friday of every month from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick: the third Friday of every month from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required by calling 800-272-3900.

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