AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — An afternoon of musical entertainment at the Jud C. Hickey Center for Alzheimer’s Care on Wednesday.

Joe Stevenson serenaded the crowd during lunchtime with upbeat songs, including a special parody he wrote about songwriters like himself.

Members and their families danced and sang along to Stevenson’s music, while enjoying moments of heartfelt laughter.

The event led up to Stevenson’s appearance at the center’s fundraising event Wednesday night.  

“One of the great things is that the opener always does a concert here at the center for our members. And it is always just fabulous,” said Jennifer Pennington, executive director at the Jud C. Hickey Center for Alzheimer’s Care. “You’re going to see some dancing, some singing. Everybody just has a good time. And we’re all here in a wonderful, warm, inviting place in the Jud C. Hickey Center.”.

Since 1996, the Jud C. Hickey Center has been offering a variety of programming for people with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“Everyone wants to come back almost everyday,” said Pennington. “They’re waking up: ‘Am I going to the center today? Am I going to see my friends today?’ And then on the other end with the families- we get to know the families as we go through this journey with them.”

Stephanie Cohen’s mother has been going to the center since March. 

“For my mom to come here and to have that capability and find these wonderful people…I’m going to get emotional…” said Cohen. “But it really is an ease for me and my siblings… who love hearing her stories when she talks to them every night.”

Pennington says that sometimes people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia lose the ability to find words and it can be very difficult and stressful. 

She says music can often be something to ease that frustration.

“I find music is always what brings her joy no matter what,” said Cohen. “If all of the sudden those fingers are going…She used to be a piano player and we had a baby grand in our home- she’d tinker on it and that was, like, her happy place. So anytime we can find music, all of the sudden her fingers start going. And you know she’s in her place of happiness.”

As the Jud C. Hickey Center prepares for its 12th Annual fundraising concert Wednesday evening, employees and families are looking forward to continuing a legacy of support for those needing memory care in the Augusta area. 

“It’s just like family,” said Cohen. “It really is.”

The “Music for Memories” fundraising concert is at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Bell Auditorium.