DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Alzheimer’s Association is commemorating Black History Month by highlighting some of their African American volunteers. This year, the Iowa chapter deemed support group facilitator, Paul Rich, as their top volunteer.
Rich received his undergraduate degree in music therapy and incorporates music into his sessions. He works with caregivers of those suffering with Alzheimer’s – using music to teach coping mechanisms.
"I use a lot of the same skills I’ve learned as a music therapist into my role as a group facilitator, so using those skills to help build coping skills and education” said Rich.
Alzheimer’s Communication Director, Lauren Livingston, says Black History Month is especially important when it comes to bringing awareness about the disease. African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than older White Americans.
“Paul is helping us share that information and spread more awareness” said Livingston.
When it comes to health care professionals, Rich believes the black community needs more representation.
“"[It's] important -- showing African Americans there are people who look like them, and I’m here to support them."
Livingston asks that anyone interested in learning more to visit their website at ALZ.org