Save the Last One for Me
By Oliver Morrison
During a moment when the baby boomers are retiring in large numbers, Nathan Hescock’s non-profit helps the ones who have lost their other memories to reconnect to the music and mojo of their youth. He grew up having to dance with older women at his parent’s dance studio to help pay his way. And he admimts, to get the girls. So he’s used to dancing with older women and feels like he owes something back for all their patience.
His antique shop, Furnish Green, offers an environmental alternative to cheap modern disposable furniture. Hescock says that, once he’s touched it up, the old furniture is more durable and has more character. He plays oldies music in his shop in Herald Square, which is packed full of tasteful dressers, disturbing old statues and retro-looking signs.
He was offered a chance to star on a newly developed reality show on cable but the producers wanted to plant expensive antiques at garage sales–another favorite past-time of his–which he was supposed to pretend to discover. He and his staff weren’t so into it. They’re not treasure hunters, he says, they’re just looking to give some old things new life.
– This is people having a transformation: feeling tired, in a bad mood, and then music comes on, they’re aware, their blood is pumping, they go home and they just feel completely different.
Part of the problem with dementia is people don’t really think of the sufferer as being in pain. And they’re just lost and confused. Well if you’re lost and confused that doesn’t make you feel good.
I am the founder of Rhythm Break Cares. It’s a non-profit organization that uses primarily partner dance as a tool to work with people with dementia, Alzheimers. I’ve been doing this for about 14 years.
“Do you want these other chairs out on the porch?”
“Sure, sure, thank you.”
I own Furnish Green which is a vintage furniture business. It doesn’t seem like it’s that related, but I guess I like older things.
“It’s become more difficult for me because everything you go through, there is a memory. You know there’s this, I remember when my mother wore that.”
It’s the next part of his life, it’s probably when logic dictates when you get to that point it might be your last stop. But there’s again there’s nothing, no sadness, there’s a life well lived. I just like being around somebody like that, at that point in their life.
Dance it just, it just puts you in the moment. It allows people not have to think about what they’re doing. And there is nothing else but that moment at that moment
You get a lot of resistance in the beginning. It doesn’t take long to—you know if you’re playing music, if somebody likes music, they automatically will start moving, you know, your head from side to side or, you know, tapping your finger a little bit, and you can see that out of the corner of your eye.
I grew up as a ballroom dancer. Every Saturday night I had to get on the dance floor and dance with all the single ladies, like three, four times my age. I’m sort of giving something back because they taught me how to dance. You know I was this little kid and I couldn’t dance that well, I’m a slow learner..I’m returning the favor. Also because it was a great way to meet girls.