Not only is “I’ve Got the Music in Me” a song by The Kiki Dee Band, it is also a true statement for most of the millions of people who suffer from the disease known as Alzheimer’s. This is a serious disease that literally robs people of their memories.
The Music and Memory program, a certified program that uses personalized iPod’s to awaken that key area of the brain linked to musical memory, has been successfully implemented in many long-term care facilities throughout the United States and other countries. It has been determined that musical memory functions differently than other types of memory in the brain and is one of the last areas to shut down, so music is now being used to open or awaken a dormant way of communication in Alzheimer patients.
The power of music in memory loss patients is so much more than just bringing smiles to their faces, it is also a major help in decreasing the instance of difficult behaviors, improving communication and an effective increase to their overall quality of life.
Using music that is specifically preferred by the patient may evoke memories of happy times, which in turn will help them remember parts of their life thought lost forever. This music ‘therapy’ is now being used to help manage stress-induced mood shifts as well as cognitive function and motor movement in patients suffering with Alzheimer.
In 2014, the Music and Memory program was featured in the movie ALIVE INSIDE which helped turn the tide in the use of music to help reach those with Alzheimer. Amazing results are being shared throughout the healthcare community; a few such story’s at Heritage Hall – Blackstone Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Blackstone, brought tears to many staff members’ eyes. Francis C., who normally speaks very unintelligibly and repeats the same vocal sounds over and over; when hearing her favorite music, opera, on her MP4 player for the first time . . . . got very quiet and still . . . . then said “it’s a love story.” Edward T., who has a habit of yelling most of the day became very quiet and enjoyed listening, even smiling every now and then. Another resident not on the Memory Unit loves gospel music and when first using the MP4 player had tears running down her face and will now wave her hand and let us know when she would like to listen to “her music.”
There are so many positive reactions to this program. Please take the time to learn more about this amazing type of therapy. Watch ALIVE INSIDE and experience the profound changes in the Alzheimer patients as they again discover that they still “Have the Music In Them.”
For more information and to find out how you may be able to start this program at your facility or how to donate new or gently used iPods, MP4 players or monetary gifts to facilities already participating, contact the Alzheimer’s Association national office at 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.
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