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Connecting With Alzheimers Patients

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By Rikki Epstein

A very special Works Sunday event takes place each year with the residents of the Rose Garden Activity Center, a Tall Oaks at Reston program for senior citizens with dementia and Alzheimer's. This event is coordinated by volunteers at Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, and includes children and adult volunteers from a variety of faith communities.

The event includes visiting and interacting with residents, an ice cream social and a children's talent show while we all enjoy refreshments.  During the talent show, there are performances on the piano, saxophone, violin and guitar. There is also a sing-along.
Each year, volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring photo albums and/or pictures (i.e., baby pictures, pictures from childhood, celebrations, holidays, family vacations, etc.). This helps stimulate questions and conversation at the beginning of the event and the residents enjoy seeing the pictures.

The residents of Tall Oaks truly enjoy the companionship of visitors who spend time with them. They also enjoy listening to the music, jokes and stories of school-aged volunteers. Most important thing for their well-being is the 1 to 1 conversation and interaction with Works Sunday volunteers.

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