Jewish Home Lifecare Aims To Make a Real Home for Residents
By CATHERINE BILKEY, Special to the Sun July 14, 2008
Paradise View does not actually have a view, but the long-term care residence in Upper Manhattan does have a drum circle.
Kathryn Montgomery (L) and Christine Karner (R) play in the Jewish Home Lifecare therapeutic drum circle.
The genesis of the drum circle was about three months ago, when Community Coordinator Paul Padial and Cantor Daniel Pincus were playing drums in Paradise View's dining room, and they attracted the attention of residents. "Everybody started coming out to see what all the noise was, and it turned into a dance floor," Mr. Padial said. "We just looked at each other and said, 'This is the coolest thing.'"
Mr. Pincus, who is a member of the religious life department at Manhattan Jewish Home Lifecare, the nursing home of which Paradise View is a unit, and Mr. Padial organize a drum circle for residents. Meeting for an hour every Thursday, it is a success, said staff and residents alike.
Ms. Gaeckle spends much of her time in bed, and never played the drums before joining the circle. Suffering from poor eyesight and having difficulty with mobility, drumming provides a welcome diversion.
At 85, Ernestine Johnston looks like a trendy Manhattanite, with sunglasses, gold earrings, and a pearl bracelet. While she is not a member of Paradise View, she has been welcomed to the circle.
"It's very energetic. It really does send blood through the veins," she said.
"One thing that drumming can do is access an individual's long- and short-term memory, and decrease agitation," the director of professional programs at the American Music Therapy Association, Jane Creagan, said. "Music is sort of a back door that can be used to access parts of the brain that other therapies can't access."
He also said that medical research on the health effects of Paradise View's drum circle have not been tested, but it could "reduce agitation, reduce blood pressure."
Mr. Padial said that perhaps more importantly, drumming seems to alleviate chronic pain. "One resident said that, 'For one hour, I have no pain,'" Mr. Padial said. "It takes them away from worrying about their ailments."