Music & Memory: Grants help Southeast Missouri Alzheimer’s patients regain their past and present

It happens to the best of us — we’re driving in the car, shopping in the grocery store or cooking dinner in the kitchen and a song comes on that stops us in our tracks, viscerally taking us back to a moment or person from our past. For the duration of the song, we relive that moment again, experiencing those feelings, associations and memories from the time in our life when that song was important.

The same is true for people with Alzheimer’s, and a program called Music & Memory is utilizing this to help these people achieve a higher quality of life as their memories fade.

The program was born in New York in 2006 when Music & Memory executive director Dan Cohen discovered that none of the 16,000 long-term care facilities in the U.S. used iPods to play music for their residents. He wondered if creating personalized playlists for nursing home patients would bring more joy into their lives.

It did — patients who had been nearly catatonic engaged with others around them, becoming more cooperative and happier.

All it took was an iPod and someone willing to create a playlist the resident would enjoy.

Continue @ Southeast Missourian