Betty Reed is a 93-year-old Sacramento woman who struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. Her son, Forrest Reed, hated seeing his mother struggle with her memory, whcih was very difficult for them both.
That is, until Forrest discovered Music & Memory.
“She loved music,” Forrest said. “It made a difference in regards to her agitation. If we went to a doctor’s appoint, she was much more calm and relaxed.”
According to ABC 10, the Music & Memory Program uses a personalized music playlist to help sooth the mind of seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The program often uses songs that connect on a personal level with the patients including wedding songs or songs from their childhood.
Across the U.S., there were 173,300 people working as musicians in 2014. Sacramento’s local music scene has been growing and with programs like Music & Memory, although live music isn’t the main focus, it’s nice for people to see a growing interest in music in the area.
“Music really makes everybody happy, it really does, and especially if you hear a song from your past it brings back those happy memories and puts you in a place of happiness,” said Casey Simon, Director of Community Relations for Revere Court Memory Care in Sacramento.
The Sacramento Bee reports the Music and Memory launched in 2010 as a nonprofit and has trained elder care professionals in hundreds of senior care facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“The atmosphere in the nursing home begins to change,” said Jocelyn Montgomery, director of clinical affairs for the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF). “Caregivers who lost that connection because patients are not responsive, they now feel more of a relationship. Morale improves. Family members come more often; they bring the kids.”
Reed credits the musical therapy program for improving the relationship with his aging mother.
“She couldn’t no longer dance like we used to,” Reed added, “but we were able to dance in a different way.”