We love connecting our programs to each other. So many of them work in similar areas and often can learn from common experiences.
This was the case recently when Good People Fund grantee Zissie Gitel, founder of In Their Shoes (Israel) connected with Dan Cohen, founder of Music and Memory here in the States. Zissie’s work is devoted to increasing compassion and empathy within the (elder) caregiver community so that patients can be better treated and understood, while Dan’s work brings personalized music via iPods to elderly individuals suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and other isolating conditions, living in nursing homes and other settings.
When we told Zissie about Dan’s work she and her husband, Sandy, enrolled in Dan’s webinar and learned how to bring M&M techniques to Israel. They’ve recently started a pilot project at a Netanya area geriatric extended care facility and sent us the most amazing report:
…we sat with one of these patients last week, together with the occupational therapist; we began playing songs at random from the list we had prepared for him. Some of the songs were of no interest to him, but when he heard a particular Jewish instrumental song–“Oifen Pripitchik”– he lifted his chin from his chest (where it had been resting) and opened his eyes. I started to sing the words of the song and he joined in. He remembered the words from when he was a young boy. This gave the occupational therapist a chance to start a conversation with him about his mother and his youth. The therapist started crying because she was so overcome by the change in this patient who had been, until this experience, totally uncommunicative. She said, “I know that people have said that this type of change can take place, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.” All of us had tears in our eyes at that point.