Many of us pass the Bayside Park elder community on 40th Street without thinking too much of our neighbors that dwell inside. Active seniors can often be seen strolling the Park Avenue District neighborhood or relaxing on Bayside’s sunny patio.
For residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia, its easy for them to become withdrawn and solitude. “I struggle with energizing myself to … sometimes it’s to get through another day,” noted Bayside resident Joe Voytek describing his personal battle with loneliness.
To combat this, Bayside offers Memory Care programs that include nourishment, fitness and activities like their popular weekly interactive music workshop. This unique program was recently spotlighted in a short documentary titled “There is a Place” that captures the efforts of Lior Tsarfaty to spread the gift of music and its benefits to senior communities.
Tsarfaty compares music to a form of medicine. “For people who can’t talk or remember, it’s one of the only ways to get to those places, sort of a magical key.”
Tsarfaty came to the U.S, from his native Israel to study music and healing at SF’s California Institute for Integral Studies in 2009. After completing the program, he played concerts, schools and synagogues before his performances at elder care facilities began to demand more of his time.
There is a Place follows Tsarfaty’s personal journey of falling in love with creating music and the call he answered to spread this gift to Alzheimer’s patients. “There’s a lot of learning about the self through music” noted Tsarfaty explaining his revelation that led him on his current career path. “I want to create a place for other people so they can be musicians and play music and be part of this and bring that healing thing that happened to me, to them.”
Tsarfaty shows up weekly with his guitar and a bag of rhythm instruments and the seniors form a circle around him. When Tsarfaty begins playing, they begin tapping their feet and opening up. “They liven up when he’s around,” says Bayside Park Community Life Director Tim Johnson in this Jweekly Spotlight. “It’s a blessing to watch.”
“I see people changing right before my eyes,” notes Bayside Park Community Life Assistant Linda Manoogian. “It’s amazing the way that people want to be part of it. They want to participate”
Debut filmmaker Tania Ku showcases her skills in writing and storytelling in the 17 minute film. Ku previously worked for Save the Bay and as a renewable energy and environmental communications specialist. There is a Place was an official selection of the San Francisco Doc festival and the Legacy Film festival.
Feature Image: Village Song Facebook Page.
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