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The Power of Music
Music Enhances the Lives of Individuals Living with Dementia


Gina Iuliucci, MT-BC, CDP, lifestyle engagement coordinator at the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Washington campus loves music. In fact, she is a music therapist and shares her love of music with our residents living with dementia to enhance their lives with their favorite tunes.

“We utilize Music and Memory, a non-profit organization that provides personalized digital music to older adults,” says Gina. She, as well as 20 certified team members on our Washington campus, use music technology to comfort our residents living with dementia at times when they could benefit from this type of engagement.

“We have a resident who has aphasia. It is heartbreaking to watch the emotions on her face as she tries to verbalize what she is feeling. To help relieve some of her nervousness, we’ve used Music and Memory; once she begins listening, her anxiety melts away. She is often more relaxed long after the music stops playing,” says Gina.

Music and Memory Executive Director, Dan Cohen founded Music and Memory with a simple idea: if he needed nursing care, he wanted to be able to listen to his favorite ‘60s music. With the popularity of iPods, he brought music into nursing communities. Music and Memory also offers certification for organizations to incorporate therapeutic music as a standard of care; Presbyterian SeniorCare Network is a certified organization.

iPods are provided through Music and Memory, as well as through donations from community members. “Our iPods are programmed to include personalized playlists for each of our residents,” says Gina. To get an idea of the music preferences of each resident, Gina and team will inquire with family members, as well as residents. “Often, a resident may not remember the name of an artist, but can tell you if they like country or big band music. That helps us to narrow the genre and program a list that includes their preferred music,” says Gina.

Music and Memory is offered in the dementia care communities around our Network. Through the program, we are able to give pleasure to persons living with advanced dementia, reduce frustration and late-day confusion, as well as offer an alternative or a reduction to the use of anti-psychotic medications.

When asked if she sees a benefit to Music and Memory, Gina instantly answers, “yes!” “It is an honor to be able to provide personalized music to our residents. When a resident is feeling anxious, as soon as the headphones are placed on their ears, you can see a change in their demeanor. When they are happy, I am happy. It gives me the chills to know that music has made their worries melt away.”

To learn more about the living and care options around Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, visit SrCare.org.



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