If you had to make a soundtrack of your life, what would be on it? And if, toward the end of your life, your mind and memories were fading away, would this soundtrack help bring them back? The Alzheimer Society’s Music Project provides personalized playlists on MP3 players to people with dementia and Alzheimer’s to reconnect them with the soundtrack of their lives.
Listening to personalized music can be a powerful activity for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Music has the potential to increase physical and social activity; reignite old memories; and improve sleep, mood, cognition, communication, and overall quality of life. Louise Noble, Executive Director with the Alzheimer’s Society, recounts the time she was showing a caregiver how to use the MP3 player for her husband. “When we put the earphones on her husband with dementia, who had not spoken a word in some time, pressed play and he suddenly states ‘I like this!’. His wife was stunned and filled with joy to see and hear such a reaction. This is the power of the Music Project”.
The Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto was inspired by the documentary titled Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory, which shows the difference music makes in the lives of people even in the later stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In 2013, the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto received a grant and started the Alzheimer’s Society Music Project. Now, many Alzheimer Societies across Ontario provide the free service.