More Music, More Memory


A few days ago I posted an article on why Support For Home In-Home Care became certified in the Music & Memory program. We have been rolling it out to a number of our home care clients and continue to be delighted by the results. This past weekend we got two emails from one of our Home Care Aides who is working with a client suffering from both Alzheimer’s and mental illness – a tough combination for a patient.

Memory

Below is an abstract of the feedback our caregiver gave us:

  • Session One

Played the first two songs and [the client] seemed quite content being that [the client] allowed the caregiver to sit with [the client] the entire 15 minutes. During the first song [the client] moved [the client’s] hands as if [the client] were conducting the Orchestra and was in time with the music. By the middle of the second song [the client] started to fall asleep and the headphones started to move away from [the client’s] ears. When the caregiver readjusted the head phones [the client] became agitated and started to scream. The caregiver apologized and [the client] went back to enjoying the music.

On a side note [the client] seems to enjoy the music and it even calmed [the client] down enough where it seemed like [the client] was relaxed during the 15 minutes.

[The client] was so relaxed that when the headphones were removed [the client] became very vocal and active.

The last comment is really important. That is exactly the post-music outcome that Music & Memory is all about. Those clients with dementia who tend to be less communicative and more withdrawn are “turned on” by the music and the memories it stimulates. Conversations and engagement with caregivers improves and the richness of our clients’ lives gets a shot in the arm.

  • Session Two

Today went quite well during the first two sessions. The third session was a miss from the start because I woke [the client] prior to the music and memory session to change [the client’s] briefs. In doing so [the client] became very agitated and would not let me put the headphones on for the third session. I waited 15 minutes and went back in and [the client] was fine. In fact [there was] a a lucid moment before the session where [the client] was laughing and cracking jokes. At that time we both enjoyed the music and memory session and [the client] event started to tap [the client’s] hands in sync with the music on [the client’s] chest. The songs that really made [the client] come alive were #27-30. During the last session he seemed to like songs #4-8. The eighth song had [the client] wiggling … feet and shaking … head.

We look forward to refining our ability to get the right music for all of our clients, stimulating great memories and great “new” experiences. It is definitely much harder for a home care company like ours to use this program than a facility – and more expensive – but it is very much worth it.

Best wishes. Bert

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