Fran Pannella is an amazing woman, a true Dementia Whisperer.
Fran is growing an Alive Inside Coalition Inspired project with a New Jersey non-profit.
They call their program "Connection Thru Music" -
These great kids have been participating for over 4 years.
1. Brody and Bonnie
Brody met Bonnie when he was living in her home alone. Bonnie had help from family but spent most of her days isolated since stopping her daily visits to the local senior center. After a few weeks of visiting with Bonnie and learning her life story, Brody and his Mom, Tara discovered one of her favorite songs. It was Country Road by John Denver! Although this was not a song from her childhood…. she immediately sang all the words and it brought her right to her childhood in West Virginia! It led her to talk about her Dad working on the railroad and YES, she sang “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. Since then Bonnie has moved into a nursing home, but Brody still makes time to visit her and she still calls him Smiley Every Time!
Brody is now finishing up his sophomore year in high school is still a participant and advocate for our program whenever possible.
This is Brody and Bonnie trying to dance!
Luke and Maria
As participants in the first Pilot Alive Inside “Adopt an Elder” Program...Luke and Maria were a perfect match from the beginning. Maria who we were told, was non -verbal when Luke met her – blossomed in his presence.......We think that Luke reminded her of one of her 5th-grade students when she was a teacher. He shared Sinatra music with her, and she began talking about seeing Sinatra when she was young. She often told Luke that he “was doing a good job”!!
Kenley, our youngest volunteer, has been paired now with 4 different Elder Buddies......and is a volunteer advocate for the Alive Inside Foundation mission.
One of her matches was Eta....a beautiful experience with this special 90 + year old woman who we found out was her Mom Katie’s Nursery School Teacher!! Eta shared many stories of her young days working in a family hotel and then raising chickens on her farm before starting the nursery school. Eta’s favorite music included Show Tunes and Classical music. It was Eta’s last wish before she died was to be able to HELP others learn how to create music playlists for those elders in need. That is Exactly what we helped her to do......we created an instructional Video with Eta as the Teacher!
Another special match was with 97-year-old Mario a WWII Veteran who was part of the D Day Invasion. They two had a very special relationship in the months before Mario passed away. He especially loved seeing her each visit.... he thought she was Beautiful! They enjoyed listening to Sinatra and talked about his days as a teenager in Hoboken and his time in the army.
Advocate for AIF, Kenley speaks at many events and even in her School!
JD and Linda
JD a middle school student and musician from Lakehouse Music Academy met Linda last summer at the Asbury Park Day Center. Linda immediately connected to JD’s kind and gentle personality. JD made sure he brought Linda ALL of her favorite Country and Beatles song that her family shared with us.... then added many more to that playlist.........they sang together, used shakers, a tambourine and triangle to enjoy the music and build their relationship.
JD has a heart of Gold and plans on continuing to participate next summer and mentor future students who want to participate.
Camille and Lois
Camille, a High School Senior met Lois last summer at We Care Adult Day Care Center. The two became fast friends with their shared love for traditional Golden Oldies and Show Tunes....dancing and singing during their visits....they gave each other the gift of JOY every moment they were together!