Arnprior nursing home uses iPods to treat dementia patients

A nursing home in Arnprior, Ont., is using music to unlock memories by giving each resident an iPod loaded with their personal favourites.

Staff at The Grove nursing home say residents are visibly happier and more communicative with music

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

There has been some research, and many anecdotal stories, of how music can help people with dementia. Now, a nursing home in Arnprior, Ont., has decided to act on it, giving all 60 of its residents their own iPods, thanks to the local library.

Each playlist is different, made up of songs that connect people with memories of an earlier time. And the headphones can slip over hearing aids. 

CBC Ottawa's Hallie Cotnam went to The Grove nursing home to find out more.

Librarian Karen DeLuca brought the iPod project to The Grove, after being inspired by a documentary about the power of music therapy in treating people with Alzheimer's disease. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)
Edith DeHoog came to Canada years ago from Hamburg, Germany. Staff at The Grove rarely hear her say more than one or two words at a time. But when she hears music from her youth, the words come back to her. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)