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“Perfect Philanthropy”
Donation Extends Valley Home Care Music Therapy to Hospice Patients


October 30, 2018 Ridgewood, New Jersey  “Perfect Philanthropy” is when a donor’s vision is precisely – or “perfectly” –matched with the vision of the organization to satisfy the needs of both. That’s exactly what took place when Lucy and Tom Ott learned about Valley Home Care’s need for a music therapy program.

Having lost their son David after a 17-year battle with encephalitis two decades ago, Tom and Lucy founded David's Fund, an endowment devoted to supporting and advancement of the field of music therapy. Music always played an important part in their son's life and they quickly realized the benefit of music therapy on the whole family.

When a dear friend was in The Valley Hospital earlier this year, her family told Tom and Lucy of the calming effect a volunteer harpist’s chords had on the somber room’s atmosphere. So, when she was home, spending her final days on hospice, the Ott’s arranged to have their friend visited by a harpist again. Although this was not yet a service provided by Valley, the musician agreed.

Inspired, Lucy and Tom combined their vision with Valley Home Care to share the wonder and comfort of music therapy with hospice patients. Thanks to a generous donation from David’s Fund, Valley will be able to send music therapists to the homes of patients who are on hospice for the next three years. 

“I am just so glad we discovered each other,” Lucy Ott smilingly told Valley Home Care’s Bonnie Schneider, LCSW, Manager of Social Services.

Music can have very powerful effects on a person because it engages the brain in a complex way. Music therapy has been proven effective in addressing patients’ and caregivers’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. In hospice, music therapists can decrease feelings of isolation and provide a sense of familiarity and comfort, while evoking feelings of reminiscence and life review.

“I have witnessed music therapy work like medicine for many of Valley Home Care’s hospice patients. This gift is making an extraordinary impact on the care we are able to provide them,” said Bonnie.

Now, with this generous donation from David’s Fund, Valley Home Care is able to offer the aid of music therapy to hospice patients and their families for years to come. Valley Home Care’s music therapy program looks forward to playing out this perfect pairing of philanthropy and care. 

 

From left to right: Jennifer Knittel, Music Therapist; Tom and Lucy Ott; Bonnie Schneider, LCSW, 
Manager of Social Services at Valley Home Care/Valley Hospice