Investing in a Caring Industry
The State implemented a beneficial program, with positive results. But the grant dollars couldn’t reach everyone.
The State of Wisconsin received a grant to implement Music & Memory programs in a select number of long-term care facilities (i.e., nursing homes). However, no such grant exists for Wisconsin’s assisted living facilities, many of which specialize in memory care. M3 became invested in bringing Music & Memory to the residents of these facilities as well.
The national non-profit organization Music & Memory works to improve the quality of life for the elderly and infirm through music, specifically by using digital music players with individualized playlists. The program has achieved amazing success particularly with people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The late neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks, an ardent supporter of Music & Memory, explained that people whose memories are seemingly unrecoverable can suddenly come to life, even “regain a sense of identity,” upon hearing familiar songs from their distant pasts.
Our clients in the gap, didn’t fall through the cracks.
M3 has kick-started the effort by providing twelve assisted living facilities to date with iPod shuffles, headphones and iTunes gift cards, as well as funding support to become a Music & Memory Certified Care Organization. Staff at these facilities hope to provide enjoyment to residents with dementia through personalized music – and in the process enhance their engagement and socialization, reduce their resistance to care and reliance on anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medications, and alleviate their confusion and agitation, especially later in the day when these symptoms can worsen (a phenomenon known as sun-downing).
I recently saw firsthand the impact that the Music & Memory program is having on residents with dementia. I was giving a tour of our suites to a family member whose mother has some cognitive impairment. During the tour, I noticed one of the residents participating in the program wearing a headset. The expression of joy on her face was something I had not seen from her in many months. I could have cried. It was such an emotional moment that I told the touring family member about the program. He put a deposit down on the suite that day.— Joanne Powell
Milestone Senior Living