Episcopal Retirement Services is committed to remaining a provider of leading dementia and Alzheimer’s care. That’s why our premier senior living communities in Cincinnati, Deupree Cottages and Marjorie P. Lee, have worked hard to become certified providers of Music & Memory therapy.
Music therapy has been clinically shown to improve mood, increase engagement with surroundings and reduce outbursts in late-stage Alzheimer’s patients.
What is Music & Memory? It’s a memory care program designed to help seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s slow the progression of their cognitive illnesses by preserving and extending memory through sound-recall stimulation.
Program participants are given carefully-curated song playlists, loaded onto donated iPods or other digital music devices, and guided through listening experiences. The songs are chosen to aid the participant in recalling specific events in his or her life.
Why music and memory are linked
Have you ever wondered why certain songs trigger certain memories? Why does Johnny Cash remind you of a family trip to Arkansas? Why do The Byrds remind you of your first love? Why does “Unforgettable” remind you of your late mother?
The reason: music and memory are processed in the same areas of the brain. And that function is the basis for the formation of what researchers term “music-evoked autobiographical memories,” or MEAMs.
MEAMs are indelibly linked to certain tunes because one of the ways your brain cross-indexes your memories is with incoming sensory information at the moment of memory creation.
What you heard, what you smelled, what you saw at the time a memory was encoded — when experienced again in other contexts — can trigger recall of that memory, just like typing a word or two into a search engine can pull up a webpage or article.
Although there is no known method of curing or stopping the progression of dementia-associated memory loss, some researchers believe that memory may be preserved, temporarily improved and extended.
One way of doing so is by stimulating MEAM recall. Playing music for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia may bring MEAMs to the forefront of consciousness and “exercise” the brain’s memory center, allowing longer or easier recall of other memories. Essentially, some believe, music therapy may help to somewhat unclog memory pipelines.
Even residents with advanced dementia seem to benefit from participation in Music & Memory. Music therapy has been clinically shown to improve mood, increase engagement with surroundings and reduce outbursts in late-stage Alzheimer’s patients.
Music & Memory as part of ERS’s memory care therapy suite
Music & Memory is just one of several innovative therapies we offer. Residents or their family caregivers are able to choose a customized combination of programs that are personally meaningful to them. We believe this increases the therapies’ overall combined effectiveness.
We offer cognitive intervention therapies, like SAIDO Learning. We train all staff in Positive Approach to Care, techniques that are a practical and structured approach to the complexities of brain failure. We offer art-based therapies, including Inspiring Minds Through Art. We even offer visual display, or tablet-based memory care options, such as IN2L and Grey Matters. Music & Memory is just one of the latest additions, and more will surely come.
“Having this program available will allow us to better individualize our care for residents,” said Stephanie Antoun, Health Services Administrator at Hyde Park’s Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community.
And it gives staffers at Marjorie P. Lee another point of engagement, “to have a positive interaction with our residents,” she explained. Often, when program participants recall life memories, they share them with us. When they do, our lives — and more importantly theirs — are enriched.
Could your older loved one benefit from Episcopal Retirement Services’ music-assisted memory care?
We invite you to take a tour of Marjorie P. Lee’s new Living Well Memory Support suite, or Deupree Cottages, both located in Cincinnati. We offer person-centered, dignified care and unparalleled support for residents with Alzheimer’s or other age-associated dementias.
Let’s find out if memory care with Music & Memory therapy would be right for your family’s needs. Schedule your family’s tour today.