We all know the power of hearing a favorite song from the past. It can bring back a flood of beautiful memories and lift our spirits in an instant. The same is true–maybe even more so–for those with dementia or Alzheimer's. Music therapy is an exciting innovation in memory care that can help residents connect with their past as well as their friends and family.
One of the most successful initiatives involves a partnership with Music and Memory℠, a national program specifically developed as a therapy for those with memory loss. The Goodman Group was one of the first supporters of the non-profit organization, which provides training and certification for healthcare professionals.
Music and MemorY℠
The idea is fairly simple and easy to put into action. Communities managed by The Goodman Group complete a music assessment to get residents’ favorite genres and songs loaded onto iPads. Residents and their families are also consulted to make sure they’re getting just the right music.
There are many benefits of this program, including improved mood, decreased anxiety, and fewer symptoms of depression. In some communities, volunteers from local high schools, even middle schools, help create the playlists. It’s a joy for both generations!
Treasures of the Heart
The Treasures of the Heart™ program is exclusive to The Goodman Group. The treasures, of course, are the songs that are familiar and beloved by residents.
At the beginning of every Treasures of the Heart™ sing-along, residents are introduced to a theme—thankfulness, for example. This puts residents in a specific mind frame so they’re ready for the musical experience. After each song, there’s a conversation starting with a concrete question. For example, when the familiar song “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” is sung, afterward, a team member might ask, “How many of you have ever picked apples?’” That gives all the residents the opportunity to participate.
Then the discussion may turn to a more abstract conversation. For example, “How might he feel if she doesn’t show up to apple pick?” That opens up a whole new opportunity for residents to interact.
At times, props may be incorporated, such as pictures or, in this case, apples! Residents are not only singing the song, which is the auditory experience, but they’re touching and smelling items triggering memories. All of these are enriching their reminiscing experience.
Music is a powerful tool for resurfacing memories. Using music to enrich residents’ lives is at the heart of what these programs are all about.