The Mindful Music program is aimed at providing personalized music to persons with dementia. Research has shown that even when someone is no longer able to communicate verbally, he or she will still respond to their favourite music. Music, it seems, is a unique conduit for emotional memory. The playlists are designed based on the client's past and current musical interests. Using digital music technology we can provide an immediate improvement in quality of life for people living with dementia.
This project was just a vision of the Alzheimer Society and something that they wanted to bring to the community. It wasn't until I started my placement there, that I was able to get the program started. I partnered with Vision nursing Home to pilot the project there with a few of their residents. The change in behaviours and moods of the residents has been wonderful.
I would like to bring this program into the community, but funding is needed in order to purchase the equipment to do so. The benefits of listening to music is so wonderful. Aggression lessens, depression and anxiety decrease, memories are brought back from earlier times, people start to sing along to songs that they have forgotten about. The smiles on people's faces just tells you how beneficial it is for them to listen to the music.
Each playlist is created per person with the input of family and staff who know them well. Sometimes the people receiving the program are able to tell me what they like to listen to. Documentation occurs so that I am able to see how and if the program is benefiting them, what changes need to be made to playlists, and what reactions are occurring with the person.
I volunteered my time over the summer in order to make this program happen, and I will continue to do my second year placement with the Alzheimer Society in order for this program to be brought into the community so that people with dementia can receive the benefits of personalized music.
Funded by Sarnia, ON (September 2015)