Community members, residents and faculty of Cross Key Village — The Brethren Home are invited to gather around the pond at Cross Keys Village for A Day of Light and Love celebration on June 21, the longest day of the year.
The free event will honor those who live with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Members of the community who currently live with these cognitive diseases, know someone who does, is a caretaker or knows a caretaker of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is invited to spend a day engaging with those in similar situations.
“The support and friendship you can get from (meeting someone) in a similar situation is priceless,” Mindy Langer, communications and gift officer for the complex, said.
Inspiration for this event was two-fold. Every year on June 21, the Alzheimer’s Association raises money and encourages a worldwide effort to raise awareness about Alzheimers. Participants are encouraged to do an activity on June 21 to fight Alzheimer’s, such as playing cards, baking or exercising.
While the Alzheimer’s Association event sparked interest, another source of inspiration for this event came from a pastor in the Pastoral Care Department. Every winter, the pastors gather the community for an event called the “Longest Night.” The event is a time of remembrance and comfort for those who will be missing deceased love ones during the holidays.
One of the pastors within the department suggested that a celebration event, based upon the Alzheimer’s Association event on the longest day, be planned in the summer to compliment the Longest Night event. Staff at Cross Keys loved the idea and a committee was swiftly arranged to plan the event.
During the event, attendees will start the day with a drum circle around 10 a.m. led by local percussionist Joe Clark. Clark has worked with villagers at Cross Keys in the past, and Memory Care Coach Kimberly Korge is hoping to surround the outside ring of the pond with participants drumming to different beats. Event attendees are welcome to bring their own drum for the drum circle.
Throughout the rest of the day, Cross Key residents and community attendees can enjoy food from local food trucks and activities like mindful movement and stretching, a village choir concert and a showing of the documentary “Alive Inside.”
The film “Alive Inside,” explores the effects of music on people suffering from cognitive disorders. After watching the film in 2016, the Memory Care Team at Cross Keys was inspired and began investing in iPods to distribute to residents suffering from various cognitive disorders. The program has grown from owning five iPods to over 100 iPods, each loaded with music that is specific for each patient.
“(Music) is a less invasive way of helping someone,” Korge said.
Korge said everyone probably knows a song that brings back memories; even if the listener has not heard the song in years, there is an emotional connection to the song and every lyric can suddenly be remembered. Since emotion lasts through the disease process, the same thing happens for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
“(Music) helps promote emotions. We have people who have been basically nonverbal or they may only say a few sentences, and when ‘Jesus Loves Me’ comes on they sing every word to it because of the emotional connection,” Korge said.
The Memory Team at the Brethren Home engages in a number of initiatives and holds multiple events throughout the year. Korge is hoping that event attendees will gain greater awareness of the services available to themselves and their loved ones at Cross Keys Village after attending the June 21 event.
Korge is hoping this event will be an opportunity for caretakers, Alzheimer’s patients, dementia patients and family and friends to just “be.” She hopes that the day will resonate positively with those in attendance.
“I just want people to walk away and say, ‘today was a good day,” Korge said.
By the pond: 10 a.m., opening remarks and blessing to begin the day; 10:15 a.m., drum circle animated by Joe Clark; 11:30 a.m., mindful movement and stretching; 10:30 a.m. — 2 p.m., food trucks.
Nicarry Meetinghouse: 2 p.m., Villager concert; 3:30 p.m., film showing of Alive Inside, music and memory program overview and outreach: 5 p.m., fellowship and hors d’oeuvres.
By the pond: 6:30 p.m., gifts showcase for individuals living with dementia to sing, play instruments, read poetry, etc.; 8 p.m., closing remarks and blessing to end the day.