iPod Collection Helps Patients Connect with Lost Memories

I wrote an article earlier this year about music and all of its benefits — there are plenty such as helping your mood and relaxing your body. Two Hanover High students have found another good thing that music can do. By collecting used iPods for an organization called Music and Memory, seniors Ceara McLaughlin and Mike Vigneaux hope to help patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Founded in 2006, Music and Movement brings the donated iPods and other digital music players to nursing homes and care facilities across the country. They train caregivers to create personalized playlists for patients. A video clip of Henry, from a 2012 documentary called Alive Inside: a Story of Music and Movement, shows one of the residents reawakened by listening to his Cab Calloway favorites.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America website, music can help patients in many ways. It can remind them of past memories, put them at ease and even motivate them to move their bodies or do other activities.  The music stimulates the brain and, although their memories are sadly deteriorating, the tempos and beats can keep them going through hard times. In late stages of Alzheimer’s, many people lose the ability to express love or affection for ones they hold dear, yet they can move to a beat until extremely late in the cycle of the disease.

Different music can have different effects on people, the website states. These effects are categorized as stimulative or sedative. Stimulative music promotes movements while sedative music can help for bedtime or during activities that cause agitation because of its relaxing properties.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are horrifying things: diseases which slowly deteriorate all that you have learned in life.  Emotions, movement, memories can all disappear. I think if you haven’t already donated an iPod, it would be a huge help to a patient in need.

“Nothing stops or cures the disease, but for some reason, music can be really helpful in bringing back memories,” said McLaughlin. “My grandfather was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to me.”

More than 20 iPods have been collected in the HHS drive.

For more information on Music and Memory or to make a donation, visit www.musicandmemory.org

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