New music program at Thunder Bay Alzheimer society to let people take digital music home
People will be able to borrow iPods full of music tailored to their preference through new program
Officials at the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay are setting up a new program that aims to help people with dementia, and their caregivers, satisfy their love of music.
The program, which will function much like a library, will allow people to check out portable music devices — like iPods — full of music specifically tailored to their likes.
Public education co-ordinator Jenna Garlick said that music has a special place in the human memory.
"We might not remember the date we heard [a song] but we're going to remember how it made us feel," she said. "That continues for the full progression of someone living with dementia."
"There's some research behind it," she continued. "Researchers at Queen's University have discovered that musical memory is different, it's spared and somehow neurologically defended from the impacts of dementia."
Building a library
The Alzheimer society is working to add music to its library of available songs, Garlick said, adding that the key to making the program work is having a lot of music across a wide variety of eras and genres. To that end, the society is taking donations of iTunes gift cards, used CDs and old iPods.
The program will be free, Garlick said.
...musical memory is different, it's spared and somehow neurologically defended from the impacts of dementia.- Jenna Garlick
People who use the library will first have an interview to determine what music they want to take home — when necessary, a caregiver can provide the information. They then take the iPod for a specified amount of time then return it. Garlick said even in the early stages, there are already a couple of people scheduled for music interviews.
The goal is to enhance the quality of life for people, Garlick said, but added there are other benefits.
"It can help with stimulation, it can help with engagement, it can help with reducing feelings of agitation or anxiety," she said. "But also as a tool to connect with someone."