The halls will be alive with the sound of music at The Nathaniel Witherell nursing home.
Thanks to the owners of Greenwich Pharmacy, the music therapy program for dementia and Alzheimer's patients at the town-owned nursing home will continue for the year.
Suzanna and Dimitri Damiarov have donated the money needed to continue the weekly program that's "targeted to towards our residents who suffer from severe dementia and Alzheimer's," said Scott Neff, The Friends of Nathaniel Witherell development director.
"It’s really great. We are just thrilled that the Damiarovs and Greenwich Pharmacy have stepped up to the plate for this program that is a great benefit for our residents," Neff added.
Demetri Damiarov said, "It is something that the community needs—that these people need. What they’re battling is indescribable…at least we provide music and they can enjoy and relieve some memories."
The program is conducted twice a week by a licensed music therapist, for 80 to 100 patients including the 38-bed Camelot Unit that houses residents who are most severely affected by dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The Damiarovs' gift will fund the program that includes classical as well as popular music with piano accompaniment.
Performances will occur in the afternoon during the critical time of “sun-downing” when many dementia and Alzheimer’s patients experience heightened anxiety and restlessness, according to Neff. Music has a claming effect on patients and helps with memory loss, he said.
Both Neff and Damiarov declined to say how much the music therapy program costs.
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Neff said the nursing home had lost funding for the program and was seeking an alternative financial resource. Longtime Witherell supporter, Joseph Kaliko of Greenwich, was instrumental in connecting the pharmacist husband-and-wife with the home, Neff said.
Kaliko said he happened to meet with the Damiarovs on an unrelated matter and mentioned the loss of funding for the music therapy program. "They said, 'We can do that,' " Kaliko said.
Demetri Damairov said, "We support everybody, everyone who needs support ... it is a very beautiful place, a very warming loving caring place. What they are doing there is a remarkable job everybody." Damiarov said he and his wife, who have run the Greenwich Pharmacy for more than two years, support many programs for seniors including a prescription savings program.
Nathaniel Witherell Board Chairman David Ormsby said, “This is a wonderful example of the town’s long tradition of public-private partnerships. I am pleased to recognize Mr. and Mrs. Daniarov and Greenwich Pharmacy for partnering with us and agreeing to fund this program which directly benefits some 100 of our most vulnerable residents.”