HOMETOWN HERO: Music therapist takes sessions on road during COVID-19 pandemic

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, June 25, 2020
HOMETOWN HERO: Music therapist takes sessions on road during COVID-19 pandemic
Cindy Cordrey is a music therapist who helps Alzheimer's patients. Knowing how music helps with memory and feelings of loneliness, she took her sessions on the road.

NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) -- Cindy Cordrey remembers singing "In The Garden" decades ago with her father in church. Now, every time she comes to the steps of his back porch, he asks her to play it again.

"I started making door visits with him so I could sing with him and we could share," Cordrey said.

The two have always bonded over music, but now that bond is strengthened by a different force: she's his music therapist and he couldn't be more proud.

"I am (proud), wouldn't you be?" said her dad, Ronald Cheadle.

Cordrey helped start the program at ChristianaCare's Evergreen Center in Newark, Delaware, a day center for adults with Alzheimer's and dementia. When the pandemic hit, the center had to close. But knowing the benefits of music for her 24 patients, Cordrey took her sessions on the road.

"One of the aspects that music can bridge is social isolation," she said.

"She has taken this program from the ground, when she started this program, they had nothing," said Cheadle.

Cheadle has vascular dementia, which means he has trouble with his memory and finding the right words, but Cordrey says since she's started these sessions, she's actually learned more about her dad's past than ever.

"It's been neat to get some new memories and some of his life that I hadn't captured before," she said.

She'll play songs for him like the anthem of the U.S. Air Force and he'll tell her stories from his time serving in the Korean War. The sessions may be different than before, but someone like her dad will tell you she's a hero reminding him of the light in a world that right now feels so dark.

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