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 Survey Validates Music Program



Grammy-award winning singer Billy Joel once said, “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by.”

Music & Memory is a program that believes in the power of music. It provides new and donated musical devices to nursing home residents with a singular goal in mind—to enrich the quality of their lives.

A recent survey conducted by Music & Memory asked 26 participating nursing homes to rate the degree to which the use of personalized music has affected elderly residents. Results suggested that the integration of donated iPods had substantially enhanced elderly participants’ lives. Respondents affirmed the correlation between the elderly’s usage of iPods and various health improvements.

“Patients with anxiety and depression are less agitated and appear calmer,” reported one respondent.
“The music transports them to a happier place in their minds. Patients who have chronic pain forget their pain while listening to music. Dementia patients appear more cognitive while listening to music. Overall, the patients using personalized music are given a better quality of life.”

Another respondent reported that elderly participants had an “increased cooperation” with care associates, in addition to “increased socialization.” In fact, those surveyed claimed advances with many residents concerning depression, adverse verbal or physical behaviors, and anxiety.

“It empowers the resident; if you think of how much control they have over their daily lives, this is certainly a goal,” says Dan Cohen, executive director of Music & Memory. Music is “something they can change and modify based on individualized tastes.”

Cohen believes that music therapy may be a viable solution to the overuse of off-label antipsychotic medications. Those drugs “are used to help people who are agitated or depressed,” he says.

“If music is working successfully, why aren’t we substituting music for antipsychotic medication whenever possible?”

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