Music to 'reawaken' memories

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18 Mar 2016

Amana Living has launched an innovative music program that uses personalised playlists to ‘reawaken’ people living with dementia.

Based on the US Music and Memory initiative, Amana Living's Tune into Life program involves creating personalised playlists to unlock deep memories that were previously lost. The playlists are loaded onto iPods and played via earphones to shut out extraneous noise.

Amana Living has added an important layer to the program by employing an experienced music therapist, Goya Zheng. Goya will identify the music that is meaningful for each person, deliver individual and group music therapy sessions incorporating singing and movement, and train care staff to use the playlists effectively.

CEO Ray Glickman said: “We know that music taps into a part of the brain that remains very much alive yet hard to reach for people living with dementia. The US experience shows consistently that music can stimulate old memories – faces light up, people reconnect with their loved ones, and lives are enriched.”

Enrichment Manager Emily Scarff said: “Using iPods to deliver personalised playlists is such a simple concept, however the impact it can have for people living with dementia is astounding. During the trial of Tune into Life we have seen our residents come alive in front of our very eyes when they listen to their favourite songs."

Tune into Life is being piloted at Amana Living’s two integrated dementia service centres, supported by dementia and IT specialists. It will then be reviewed and rolled out across care centres, with up to 1,000 residents and clients benefiting within three years.

The Amana Living music therapist is generously funded by the John and Beryl May Henderson Foundation.