Program Uses Personalized Music to Help People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Program Uses Personalized Music to Help People with Alzheimer’s Disease

LeadingAge Oklahoma Executive Director Mary Brinkley recently announced that 45 nursing homes throughout the state have received national certification in the MUSIC & MEMORY program and will take part in this new program that uses personalized music to assist residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.
In an effort to improve the quality of life for people suffering from dementia, a personalized music program is now available to 2,000 nursing home residents in 100 skilled nursing homes in Oklahoma. The two and half year project will use iPods to re-introduce nursing home residents to their favorite, personalized music to improve their day-to-day life and assist in reducing medication usage. Phase 2 of the program will begin next Spring for the remaining 55 nursing homes. The LeadingAge Oklahoma Music for the Ages initiative is part of the national MUSIC AND MEMORY program developed to train nursing home staff to create personalized music. The grant through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Oklahoma State Department of Health will enable residents to listen to their favorite music and be able to recall memories that haven’t been lost to their disease. This has an uplifting affect that improves their spirits, and allows them to be responsive, cooperative, and engaged with family, friends, staff and other community members. “Increasing a person’s ability to positively interact with others through the power of music is really priceless,” said Brinkley. “We’re pulling from their past – music that made them feel happy or made them joyful and triggers good memories.” “The music has a connection to the emotion system. It’s sort of a back door to the mind, and that’s why people come alive.” Program Director, Denise Clemonds said, “LeadingAge Oklahoma will host monthly support sessions for nursing homes to discuss successes, solve challenges and receive additional training.” Nursing homes will receive start up equipment, certification and also participate in a research study to measure the effectiveness of the program. The results of the study will be used for future planning. “We are gratified that so many of the nursing homes across the state will participate in what we believe is a landmark program in the treatment of people with dementia”, said Brinkley.
“Music has long been known as a powerful tool for stimulating memory, and this new program in Oklahoma nursing homes is harnessing that power to improve the lives of residents with advanced dementia,” said Brinkley. “Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. People with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that damage brain chemistry can reconnect to the world and gain improved quality of life from listening to personal music favorites.” MUSIC & MEMORY founder Dan Cohen used thorough neuroscience research to create the program which has been shown to enhance the lives of residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias by: „* Reducing the reliance on anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication „* Reducing agitation and “sun-downing” „* Enhancing engagement and socialization, in turn fostering a calmer social environment * Increasing pleasure to persons with dementia „* Increasing cooperation and attention of patients „* Boosting staff morale by reducing resident resistance to care „* Increasing fulfilling engagements among the residents, staff, family, friends, and their community.
“LeadingAge Oklahoma is the first long-term care provider association in the country to develop its own program based on Cohen’s program,” said Brinkley.
LeadingAge Oklahoma plans to expand Music for the Ages initiative this spring to include a total of 100 nursing homes in the project.
For additional information about the Music for the Ages, go to: LeadingAge Oklahoma For the list of Oklahoma nursing homes participating in the program, go to: http://leadingageok.org/music-for-the-ages

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