AT A GLANCE
• WHAT: Music for Alzheimer’s, CD collection drive sponsored by SPACES and Progressive Designs.
• WHEN: Collection continues through Dec. 19.
• WHERE: New or used CDs can be dropped off at 208 W. North Street or 243 N. Maple Avenue in Manteca.
• RAFFLE: Those that donate will be entered into a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Ernie’s Food & Spirits.
• CONTACT: For more information, contact 209.815.9021.
In her final months, Frances Loureiro may have forgotten the lyrics to her favorite songs, but the beat and rhythm reverberated through her soul, connecting her with family and friends one last time.
And she laughed.
For a few fleeting moments, Loureiro, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia that worsens over time, had been freed from her disease.
The trigger was music.
Georgiann Rose and Mel Loureiro made that discovery during a visit with their mother at Bethany Home. A song would awaken her, and soon, the tight-knit family of four would be toe-tapping their way through the halls, hand in hand.
“Music was always important. We grew up dancing at different functions. We were members of the MRPS, so there were family weddings and other celebrations,” Rose said. “What we noticed with mom, if there were days that were difficult or days that were hard to get her to respond to us, we noticed that if there was music, she would light up.”
Science has shown that music, when used appropriately, can have a profound impact on an Alzheimer’s patient.
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music “can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movement.”
In the 2014 documentary “Alive Inside,” Alzheimer’s patient Henry Dreher is diagnosed as “depressed, unresponsive and almost unalive” by a medical professional.
A longtime resident of the Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Health Center, Dreher spends most of his days slumped over in his seat, hands folded on a table.
One day, therapist Yvonne Russell introduces Dreher to the iPod, slipping headphones over his ears.
Immediately, Dreher is awakened by the music. His posture changes, almost as if he’s been zapped by an electrical current. His eyes open as wide as silver dollars. His hands and arms move with the beat. He hums happily. He speaks freely.
“So in some sense, Henry has restored himself. He has remembered who he is, and he’s reacquired his identity for a while through the power of music,” said Dr. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist interviewed for “Alive Inside” – the very same professional that characterized Dreher as “unalive.”
Rose and her family bore witness to those same tiny miracles with their mother, and her death in 2011 became the impetus for Music for Alzheimer’s, a CD collection drive.
Last December, the Loureiro family collected 70 new and used CDs during the month of December. The CDs were packaged in bundles and donated to facilities in the area, including Bethany Home, Prestige Senior Living, Emeritus, The Commons at Union Ranch, the St. Jude Care Center and Manteca Care.
“It’s important for us to give back,” Rose said, “and the response was phenomenal. At that point, we realized we wanted to do it again. We wanted to do more than 70. The people were so appreciative. Every time we walked out of a facility we were in tears.”
She and her brother hope to exceed last year’s efforts. The drive is currently underway. CDs can be dropped off at one of two Manteca locations: Spaces at 208 W. North Street; or Progressive Designs at 243 N. Maple Avenue. Collection will continue through Dec. 19.
As of press time on Wednesday, Dec. 10, the tally was 52 CDs.
Those that donate will be entered into a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Ernie’s Food & Spirits.
“A lot of people have a connection to this (disease). I meet a lot of people who tell me ‘My mom’ or ‘My brother’ or ‘My uncle,’ whoever it may be,” said Rose, who also lost her first cousin, Frank Steves, to Alzheimer’s.
“You can tell when they’re handing us the CDs just how amazing it is.”
Ultimately, Rose would love to raise money for the purchase of iPods and MP3 players. They’re far more durable and convenient than CDs. For now, though, she’s content with collecting your cast-offs.
“There is a clear link to music,” she said.