Old iPods unlock memories for Alzheimer's patients

Music transforming Alzheimer's patients

CELINA, TEXAS - A retirement facility wants you to skip the trash when it comes to tossing your old iPod or MP3 players. 

Settlers Ridge is holding a "music drive" where they're asking for personal music players, over-the-ears headphones and charges. Their goal is to get a device for every resident with Alzheimer's, so they can create a tailored playlist. 

Sonia Guthrie has worked in the memory care unit for years and says music therapy can change lives. "It's like a switch.There is the saying you don't forget music or God," Guthrie said.

Residents' families tell staff what songs to download. A patient named Bonnie loved Judy Garland and songs from "The Sound of Music." While her Alzheimer's is advanced, the former choir singer can sing every lyric and every note of her favorite songs.

"It's like a switch," Guthrie said.

The music tastes are eclectic. A resident named Jerry, who has early onset Alzheimer's, prefers classic rock. Guthrie says Lynard Skynard gets Jerry dancing and calm. Other kinds of therapies cannot.

Robin Gill oversees similar programs in several retirement facilities. It's part of a statewide pilot program looking into the power of music as a method for therapy. She says research shows music is stored in a different part of the brain that doesn't seem to be as damaged by diseases like Alzheimer's.

"One of the main goals is to see if we can use music instead of more medication on these men and women. The results have been amazing," Gill said.

Arvin Jones' wife is at Settlers Ridge and he visits her every day. The devoted husband says he can tell when his wife has been listening to music. Her favorite is Carrie Underwood. Jones says it can instantly calm her down.

"She starts tapping her foot and humming. It's something you can see," Jones said.

The goal is to get every resident their own device with their own unique music library. That's why the facility is asking for donations. Gill says the playlists are as unique as the residents themselves.

"Well, I was pretty surprised when one woman asked for Metallica," Gill said.

If you have an old device, over the ear headphones, iTunes gift cards or a charger you'd like to donate, you can do so by contacting Settlers Ridge.
 

Bonnie:
How Great Thou Art
Climb Every Mountain - sound of music
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland)

Jerry:
Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash)
Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynrd Skynrd)

Virginia:
Blown  Away  (Carrie Underwood)
Theme from Beauty and the Beast
Somebody Loves Somebody (Celine Dion)

© 2017 WFAA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment