Folks are working in Polk and St. Croix counties to make their communities more dementia aware and dementia friendly. Some are using music as one way to accomplish that.

This year, as part of the Second Annual Dementia Friendly Sunday, June 9, the Music by Heart community sing along will include a debut performance by the St. Croix Valley Lifelong Singers. The event begins at 1 p.m. in Lakefront Park, Hudson.

Linda Iwaszko of Osceola is coordinating three rehearsals, one each in Dresser, Centuria and Amery, for anyone interested in being part of this unique choir. 

Iwaszko has directed the community choir in Osceola and a special needs choir. She has also worked in an area nursing home creating a residents choir.

“Every generation has music they have grown up listening to and singing, in their homes, in the car, at Sunday school. It is something we all have in common. There isn’t an age group that is immune to music,” said Iwaszko. 

In her work with seniors, she has seen firsthand the impact of music, no matter their age, their mental or physical state. 

“Music sticks with us and helps us to reconnect. You might not be able to relate to other things, but the melodies and lyrics we grew up with come back.”

The rehearsals are scheduled in Dresser at Peace Lutheran Church on April 25, at Fristad Lutheran Church in Centuria on May 16, and at Amery Congregational church on June 6, all from 6-7 p.m.

Attendance at all the rehearsals is not required to participate in Music by Heart.

The choir is open to all. 

For more information call or text Iwaszko at (715)-494-0385.

For more information about how churches can participate in Dementia Friendly Sunday, or about the Life Long Singers Choir, contact Angie Pilgrim, Programs Officer for the St. Croix Valley Foundation, at

For more information about dementia services and support in Polk County go to the Aging and Disabilities Resource Center online at

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