Making An Impact

Student Uses HOSA Project to Create Awareness Of Alzheimer's

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Photo by Amelia Tapia

Seniors Jackie Castillo and Shivesh Razdan pose for a picture during their DEN presentation over Alzheimers. Each year, Health Occupations Students of America, also known as HOSA create a project where groups of students strive to create a lasting effect on the community through their research. This year for the annual HOSA project, senior Layla Ismail decided to use her project to create awareness of Alzheimers, and the link between classical music and the disease. “I think that we as the youth of our community need to educate ourselves since we will be the generation taking care of our parents and relatives who will later develop Alzheimers,” Ismail said. “It’s important for people in high school to get involved with the Alzheimer's community because it’s an extremely humbling experience. It allows you to realize how lucky you are to be exactly where you are in life currently.”

Kieren Garner, Reporter

Each year, Health Occupations Students of America, also known as HOSA creates a project where groups of students strive to create a lasting effect on the community through their research. This year for the annual HOSA project, senior Layla Ismail decided to use her project to create awareness of Alzheimer’s, and the link between classical music and the disease. 

According to Ismail, her own grandmother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s was her inspiration for the project.

“I noticed that when I played piano for her she calmed down,” Ismail said. “She became super serene and it made me want to research more about the link between classical music and Alzheimer”s.”

Ismail and her group worked on the project for a couple of months and said that throughout the process she realized the importance of it.

“I think that we as the youth of our community need to educate ourselves since we will be the generation taking care of our parents and relatives who will later develop Alzheimer’s,” Ismail said. “It’s important for people in high school to get involved with the Alzheimer’s community because it’s an extremely humbling experience. It allows you to realize how lucky you are to be exactly where you are in life currently.”

For part of their project, Ismail said that her group decided to play a concert for the residents at Cedar Ridge Memory Care Assisted Living Facility. She said that during the concert, she took note of the residents and their awareness. 

“We had people playing various instruments such as the piano and bassoon- the residents really loved it and we were able to see our impact directly,” Ismail said. “I noticed that some residents were more aware of what was going on. One resident began to give me life advice and she told me that she had Alzheimer’s and remembered her husband saying that she would be happier in the home before he placed her there.  The residents responded very emotionally to the music, some became reminded of earlier memories that they had associated with the sounds and it was such a meaningful moment for all of us.”

During DEN on Feb. 1, Ismail and her team conducted a presentation where students could learn more about Alzheimer’s. 

“In the presentation, during DEN we used Kahoot to survey what our audience knew about Alzheimer’s,” Ismail said. “The presentation allowed us to communicate information that I think was very valuable to anyone who came and I believe that it will have a lasting impact on their lives.  If they start volunteering, not only will the Alzheimer’s residents be gifted with the assistance, but the volunteers will learn so much. It will be a life changing experience. The feeling of giving back to the seniors in our community is very heartwarming.”

After her experience throughout the project, Ismail said she hopes this project has a lasting effect on the community.

“Hopefully one thing that all people in the Cedar Park community can take from the project is how lucky they are to be in good health and to appreciate the people in their lives.”