Seniors used iPods as therapy to lessen anxieties, traumatic memories, provided mood and emotional stabilization.

(Seattle, WA): Living Care Lifestyles, the leader and The Only Place to Be in senior lifestyle communities, partnered with the Snohomish County Music Project (SCMP), to conduct a pilot study at Quail Park of Lynnwood, to assess the effectiveness of music with seniors living with Alzheimer’s and late stages of dementia.

Using the Likert Scale to track behaviors, the participants in the pilot study showed consistent memory recall, improvement of moods and emotions, a decrease in agitation and aggressive behaviors, increased cognitive function, and coordinated motor movements.

Participants were given iPods with their favorite genre of music and songs loaded on the iPods to use during the music therapy sessions and regular activities of the day. Due to the generational gap, most seniors don’t own or use iPods. Family members of the participants assisted with the music selections which was the key to successful outcomes.

“Music is the last remaining ability a person with late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s has, and reaching them with music is the most powerful way to go beyond the disease and help them with problematic behaviors,” said Maggi Broggel, RN, C LNC and vice president of Clinical Services at Living Care Lifestyles. “Breaking the generational gap by providing iPods to listen to their favorite music is the most ideal way to ensure the therapy’s effectiveness.”

According to Christine Browne, life enhancement director for the Memory Care Residences at Quail Park of Lynnwood, music therapy literally had an “awakening” effect among the participants. “Most of the residents for the study had agitation problems, some were very aggressive, others couldn’t communicate but with music therapy sessions, their bad behaviors went away,” said Browne. “More importantly, music brought back their emotions and feelings of life when nothing else can, in which their feelings are often lost in late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.”

One of the more dramatic results from the pilot study was from Cora. When she was an older child, Cora was traumatized by the tragic murder of her father that still affected her. In the pilot study video, she was given her songbook and an iPod and showed expressions of happiness for the first time in years (photos included).

“We introduced music therapy to reduce Cora’s trauma over her father’s death so that she could ultimately celebrate his life instead of mourning her loss that still haunted her with dreams to this day,” said Karla Hawley, board-certified music therapist for the Snohomish County Music Project. “We sang Happy Birthday to her dad and we were able to reminisce 2 about him, sang songs to him which in turn, provided her with positive experiences and thoughts that replaced her traumatic ones,” said Hawley. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

The singing sessions in the study engaged more than just the brain and the area related to singing. As singing activated the left side of the brain, listening to music sparked activity in the right side areas of the brain. With so much of the brain being stimulated, the patients were exercising more mind power than usual. This led to an increase of positive social behaviors and interactions with the caregivers and staff.

Attention video/photo journalists: Due to the findings and positive experiences by all the participants of the pilot study, music therapy sessions continue to at Quail Park of Lynnwood. If you would like to schedule time to shoot video or photos of the music therapy sessions, please contact Tod Steward at tods@livingcarelifestyles.com or call 206-441-1770.

About Living Care Lifestyles
Living Care Lifestyles, founded in 2001, is the leader and The Only Place to Be in senior lifestyles communities. The organization has communities located in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Lifestyle options include Dining, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living and Memory Care which includes the Tribute Program™. The unique program focuses on the needs of persons living with Alzheimer’s and dementia by paying tribute to each individual’s previous accomplishments while focusing on the persons remaining strengths and present relationships. Living Care Lifestyles is committed to offering the best in senior living care.