Helping dementia patients through music

Music can awaken memories and help people to connect. That’s why its being used as therapy for dementia patients in a Welland care home.

For Mary-Lou McIvor finding the right words can be difficult, but singing comes second nature. Before being diagnosed with dementia, McIvor worked for the government during the week and would sing professionally on the weekends. The 81-year-old now lives at Niagara Health’s Extended Care Unit, and participates in the memory and music program.

After determining which artists and songs resonate with each resident, staff download a personalized playlist onto an iPod.

The staff say since they started the program 2 years ago its helped improve the mood and behaviour of residents.

While it can’t cure the confusion that comes with Alzheimer’s, it can brighten a day.


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