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Music can be a wonderful and magical experience, and research has showed that music has an almost drug-like effect on our mental and emotional being. Music seems to have a particularly transformative effect on people with dementia, and music therapy is increasingly a critical part of memory care programs.

Research shows that music has the ability to stimulate the brain in ways that nothing else can. As individuals lose cognitive function (including but not limited to individuals with dementia) one of the very last things to go is music. This means when nothing else can reach the old self, singing has been proven to be an effective whole brain exercise that has the power to reach deep into the mind and re-engage parts of the brain that would otherwise remain hidden.

The award-winning documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory shows dementia patients experiencing music in ways that seem impossible given their mental health. Video clips of the film’s participants listening to music through headphones went viral because their reactions are just so incredibly moving. If you have yet to see the film, watch this.

The filmmakers used a technology called SingFit that uses a combination of sing-along, trivia, and other activities that result in a total brain and body workout. It’s essentially a music therapist that provides substantial benefit to all residents, but it’s particularly empowering for memory care residents. The takeaway for care programs (whether they use the SingFit technology or their own) is to create a personalized music therapy program for their residents with dementia.

Studies have shown that when residents engage in music therapy at least 3 times per week, they have increased focus, better memory and more positive moods. Studies further show that active music-making including singing and other whole-brain exercises, done on a regular basis, have the ability to combat dementia.

The MUSIC & MEMORY℠ Program at Wilf Campus

Music is an essential part of our programs at our Stein Assisted Living Residence, which includes a special unit just for seniors with memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, called the Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood. You’ll find music integrated into a great number of activities such as music listening sessions, harp therapy, sing-alongs and a weekly ‘Memory Magic’ workshop.

We are a Certified Music and Memory℠ Facility, which means our staff is trained to use the research-based Music and Memory program to help our residents find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music. At the heart of the program is setting up personalized music playlists, delivered on iPods and other digital devices, for our residents. These musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present.

Our resident’s reactions, particularly those in our Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, are consistent with what the Memory and Music program sees in its elder care partners – not short of miraculous.

Residents are happier and more social; relationships among staff, residents and family deepen; and everyone benefits from a calmer, more supportive social environment. Staff regains valuable time previously lost to behavior management issues, and there is growing evidence that a personalized music program gives professionals one more tool in their effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications.

These activities and programs (in addition to 24-hour compassionate caregiver assistance) make life enjoyable and fulfilling for our residents with mild to moderate memory impairment or dementia. It takes a special understanding of the challenges these residents and their families face, and you won’t find a more caring or professional community than here.

music making at Stein Assisted Living

We cordially invite you to attend an open house and luncheon at our Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, September 10 at 12pm, to explore memory care options for your loved one and to learn more about our Music and Memory Program To RSVP email [email protected] or call 732-568-1155.

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