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Music and Memories Program at ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS

Unique approach to Alzheimer’s care may help manage the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of dementia

While medical researchers continue to work to find ways to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, millions of Americans suffer from dementia or care for a loved one who has a memory illness. Families and caregivers make use of the tools and resources they have to help loved one's manage the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of dementia. One such tool is music, the application of which is used at memory care residences across the country – including ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS.

Music therapy has been studied in psychology as a way to elicit a behavioral or emotional change in individuals. [Source] This is true of most people – even those without Alzheimer’s or dementia. Think about it: you probably have a favorite song from your teenage years that makes you think of summer days, a romantic ballad that reminds you of your first love, or even a retro song that brings back memories of riding in the backseat of Dad’s car. Certain music may make you feel tired, sad, or serious. A single song can cause a multitude of memories to surface and, as a result, create an emotional response.

How Music Therapy Works

For a long time, music has been known to calm us down and provide relief from stress. Given recent medical advancements that allow scientists to scan our brains, new research about the effect of music on our mental state has occurred. They discovered that music engages areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating events in memory. Recent research also showed that listening to music releases dopamine in the brain sending, pleasure signals to the rest of the body.

While comprehensive music therapy involves a participant and a therapist who has completed an accredited music therapy program, the bases of these findings can be applied to seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Music can help to calm an agitated senior, release built-up tension, or release “happy-hormones” that cause comfort and joy.

The Roth Project: Music and Memories for Seniors

Inspired by the award-winning documentary “Alive Inside,” Wichitan Dave Roth brought a unique music program to his home state. Dave, whose own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, loaded an iPod with popular songs from her teenage years and early twenties. According to the documentary, music from these formative years often have the strongest memory attachments, even for seniors in late-stage Alzheimer’s.

“My mother at the time had four words she could say. She had a language of four words” says Dave Roth. “I put the iPod on her for the first time and she started singing lyrics with me.” [Source]

Together with the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Dave brought the music and memories program to ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS. This program brings iPods helps individuals and families suffering from the effects of dementia to manage difficult behaviors, improve communication and cognition, and connect with one another. At ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS, our care providers can provide the support and assistance to senior Residents to make sure the iPod works properly. [Source]

Developing Your Loved One’s Dementia Care Plan

ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS creates a home-environment for each of our Residents. We are constantly learning about new tools and treatments for dementia care and educating our care staff. We proudly offer music programs as part of our comprehensive Life Enrichment Activities offerings. As a professional memory care facility, we understand that the types of activities that may be popular for other seniors may not be realistic (or enjoyable) for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.

We will work with you, your family, and your senior loved one to create a dementia care plan that will improve their quality of life. ComfortCare Homes Wichita KS helps seniors live rewarding, comfortable, and enriched lives – even while living with dementia.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 685-3322.

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