Research studies have shown that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia effect the part of the brain that responds and reacts to music last, allowing for memories associated with certain songs to be triggered and brought back to life when listened to. Bringing personalized music selections into the lives of the elderly through digital music technology is shown to improve quality of life. Here at OceanView, we have been engaging our residents at Legacy Memory Care in a program inspired by the film Alive Inside.
Armed with a library of music and fleet of MP3 players, OceanView staff member, Mike Maddock, has been meeting individually with Legacy residents, interviewing them about their favorite music from the past and present. “Sometimes they can’t recall many song titles or artists, but I can get insights by asking them about their life experiences,” says Mike. “One gentleman I met with told me he was in the Navy during WWII and was stationed on a boat next to Liberty Island, right under the Statue of Liberty, so when he had shore leave, he would go into the city. I tried playing him songs from the 30s and 40s, big band jazz, Sinatra. His eyes lit up and foot started tapping. But it was Wonderful World, by Louie Armstrong that trigged a story about when he met his wife and going out dancing with her.
OceanView staff member, Mike Maddock, with Legacy Memory Care resident, Karen, who is a Beatles fan.
With this project we hope to give each Legacy Memory Care resident a MP3 player loaded with their own personalized playlists to enhance their memory retention and quality of life. Mike says it’s really special for him. “I feel like these MP3 players are little time machines and I get to witness these people get instantly transported back and relive their past experiences. It’s truly incredible.”