Jazz90.1 and local Miss America Organization contestant Diana Marie Russo are teaming up to provide free radios to local residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The program – Rochester’s Gift of Music – will donate these radios to patients, providing immediate therapeutic relief and enhanced quality of life. Research has shown that Alzheimer’s patients can remember and sing songs even in advanced stages, long after they have stopped recognizing names and faces. Memory care homes often use music as recreation, since it brings patients pleasure. Beyond the entertainment value, there is growing evidence that listening to music can also help stimulate seemingly lost memories and even help maintain some cognitive functioning. Studies have also shown that music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle-stages of the disease. Music provides a way to connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult.

Diana Marie Russo is currently a senior Media & Communication major at St. John Fisher College. She will compete on October 7 for the title of Miss Adirondack and Miss Heart of New York. Diana is passionate about promoting her platform “Alzheimer’s Awareness, Remembering Through Music” since her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease in 2000. Diana has also played the flute for 14 years, and provides musical therapy in local memory care facilities in Rochester.

“Diana came to us with this fantastic concept, and we instantly wanted to join this effort,” said Jazz90.1 Station Manager Rob Linton. “The ability to provide music to people who truly appreciate it is what we do daily at Jazz90.1. Now, we can help bring this wonderful music to people who perhaps need it the most.”

Listeners may drop off gently used AM/FM radios to the Jazz90.1 studios during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) Radios will then be cleaned, serviced and delivered to two memory care facilities, including Crimson Ridge Gardens and St. John’s Nursing Home. Radios should be small (portable), in working condition, and powered by 110v. Jazz90.1 will then provide a letter acknowledging the donation.