Many of us are familiar with the tragic ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Over 5 million Americans are impacted by the condition, which means a great many know a friend or family member who suffers from the debilitating disease.
As of yet there is no cure, but doctors and researchers are constantly trying to invent new ways to treat the disease; anything that can bring the sufferer back to their loved ones, even for a few moments, is a big victory.
Well, one social worker has stumbled upon a new method of getting through to those whose minds are wandering, and can seem lost.
It’s surprisingly simple and when you think about it, you probably won’t be surprised at its effectiveness, as music can play such a vital role in any human being’s life.
Enter Music & Memory, the brainchild of New York social worker Dan Cohen, who had the idea of taking used iPods and giving them to senior citizens afflicted with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The results were immediate.
As reported by ABC News:
“Jean Paese says an iPod playlist of barbershop music helps her see glimpses of the Bill Paese she married 53 years ago.
Bill Paese, 82 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, sang in a quartet most of his life – so his customized playlist is a bridge to good memories for both of them.
‘He’s in there and sometimes we get to see him,’ said Jean Paese, who visits her husband daily at the Rocky Knoll Health Care Center in Plymouth, Wis.”
The patients get customized playlists that jog their memories, as researchers believe the familiar music “touches so many areas of the brain, making connections,” connections they might otherwise never find.
Of course, it’s not a cure as Cohen reminds everyone, but it’s certainly helping.
“It’s not a cure. Nobody is going to live longer,” Cohen said. “But their function is very often is better. … The impact of music grows over time.”
Anything we can do to see the person we care so deeply about, if only for a few minutes, should be welcomed. Alzheimer’s and dementia robs so many of so much and it directly impacts the families as well.
That’s why little victories like this should be cherished. And it also gives us hope for a brighter future.
Source: ABC News