Power of mu­sic helps un­lock mem­ory

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

MU­SIC will be used in a new pro­gram aimed at help­ing peo­ple with de­men­tia re­con­nect with their long-term mem­o­ries.

The pro­gram, based on a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive run in the US, was launched by Amana Liv­ing this month.

It in­volves us­ing per­son­alised playlists to un­lock for­got­ten mem­o­ries.

Amana Liv­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Ray Glick­man said 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,” he said.

Amana Liv­ing has also em­ployed a mu­sic ther­a­pist to help pick out rel­e­vant mu­sic and to de­liv­erer ses­sions in­cor­po­rat­ing singing and move­ment.

En­rich­ment man­ager Emily Scarff said the pro­gram should aid the rec­ol­lec­tion of mem­o­ries, in­crease com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­ter­ac­tion, in­crease fam­ily and in­ter­gen­er­a­tional links, and im­prove spe­cific con­di­tions or be­hav­iours.

“Im­por­tantly, our pro­gram will have a strong fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity,” she said. “We will look closely at how we can train fam­ily, vol­un­teers and staff to de­liver the per­son­alised mu­sic ses­sions at a site level.

The pro­gram will be pi­loted at Amana Liv­ing’s two in­te­grated de­men­tia ser­vice cen­tres be­fore be­ing rolled out across its 13 res­i­den­tial care cen­tres.

One of those will be Cool­bellup’s Hale Hos­tel.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek d449342

Emily Scarff and Doreen Dear­den.

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