Carrie Esselman, Therapeutic Recreational Specialist at Valley VNA, helped write a grant with Susan McFadden, Ph.D.  from the Fox Valley Memory Project to fund drum circle training for 11 long term care facilities across northeast Wisconsin. The $2500 grant will help pay for Tom Gill, from Rhythm for Unity in Milwaukee, to introduce and train therapeutic specialists and activities’ directors to the world of drumming for their residents.

Drumming has been shown to particularly engage and soothe people with dementia.

“People in late stages of dementia begin to lose their ability to stay in step with others during an activity. They may also lose their ability to show emotion.  Drumming has an amazing way of helping them participate and express themselves,” Esselman said.

The regional training workshop held in March will lead up to a community-wide drumming performance at the Thompson Community Center on June 6. Residents from as far away as Seymour and Freedom will join others from the Fox Valley at the Thompson Community Center in a celebration of drumming.