DSC 2982The Sifrit family has always been a music loving family. When Ken was diagnosed with Alzheimers/dementia, wife Shirley, saw her once fun loving husband slowly decline as the disease continued to progress. The happy, singing version of Ken was a distant memory for Shirley until Andrea Owens came into their lives.

Graduating from Western Illinois University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in music, Andrea also completed a 6 month clinical internship and board certification to become a board certified music therapist. Music therapy by definition is the clinical, research and evidence based use of music to achieve non-musical goals. Andrea uses her extensive knowledge in music therapy to provide therapeutics services to the patients and families in hospice care. Starting the program from the ground up, Andrea now serves over 50 patients per month, including Ken Sifrit.

“Music uses the entire brain which is why it is different from anything else,” Andrea explained, “This makes it especially useful in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia because they are able to remember songs when they may not be able to remember anything else.”

“It is truly remarkable what Andrea is able to do with Ken,” Shirley explained through teary eyes. “We never really see him smile anymore and he doesn’t really speak. When Andrea is here, we see something in him that we never get the pleasure of seeing anymore. He picks his head up, he looks at her, and he sings all the words to the country western songs she plays. It’s a happy time for all of us and we wouldn’t have that without her.”