Houston Nursing Home Uses Beloved Music to Renew Lives of Dementia Residents
Treemont uses Beloved Music to Renew the Lives of Residents with Dementia. Memories forge our identities and make people unique. Yet dementia chips away at memories and often makes it difficult to remember family, friends and the past life the individual has lived.
Music and Memory is a new and innovative program designed to use beloved music favorites that will tap into an Alzheimer’s or dementia individual’s deep memories, help renew their past life connections, thereby improving their quality of life. This program can reach residents with communication challenges, make them happier, more social and more receptive to daily care and family visits. Music favorites can help reduce depression and anxiety. The program can increase socialization and interaction, increase resident quality of life and participation in their individual care; and in addition, research has shown that this program will improve the staff interaction in the resident’s level of care.
Treemont Health Care Center was selected by the State of Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) to participate in the Music & Memory Program. One of the key motivations is that personalized music can help reduce the usage of anti-psychotic medications and can affect behaviors in a positive way.
Each resident receives an iPod and a playlist of songs, specifically created for them. A resident with dementia may remember the song that was playing when he first laid eyes on his future wife even though he may no longer recognize his children. In the short few months of implementation at this nursing home in Houston there are numerous stories of families being surprised by their loved ones experience with music and memory.
Donald is one of the first 15 residents in this skilled nursing home in Houston's Music & Memory program. Working with Activity Director Nancy Lyles, Donald’s son and daughter-in-law developed his personal playlist consisting of: old time country and western songs and the music of Burl Ives, Johnny Cash and American Standard. Nancy shared that through this process, " Donald’s daughter-in-law became teary-eyed with joy as she and Donald’s son talked about his life as it related to the music they were choosing for him — his favorites. Donald’s son laughed and was touched by the memories of his dad’s life and the music he liked”. Donald’s son and daughter-in-law were so touched by the experience of choosing the music and excited about the benefits of the program— that they were the first family to donate an iPod for the next group of 15 residents.
Another resident, Isabelle, also a part of the first group of 15, loves music and played the organ for her church choir for many years. “When Isabelle experiences anxiety, she is easily redirected when she hears gospel music, and that is why she is perfect for the M&M program. I put the head phones on her to see how well she could hear and accept the headset. I asked her if she would like to hear some music and asked if I may put the headset on her. Isabelle smiled so big and bright: ‘YES- I want to hear the Music!!’ she said” according to Ms. Lyles. “Isabelle’s reaction was priceless. I was so touched— we both laughed and I cried.”
Our nursing home and assisted living Houston families are excited about helping choose the music their loved ones like and want to help load the iPods so they will be a part of the whole experience for their loved one. Families and staff are inspired and excited for these residents to begin their journey in Music and Memory. Volunteers who have already expressed interest in volunteering to support this Music and Memory Program are AT& T Pioneer Volunteers and Health Occupations Students of America at the University of Houston. Treemont Independent Living recently received a large donation of CDs, is digitizing them, and is also starting to incorporate Music & Memory into its programming.
The goal of Music & Memory is to get people who are living with cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed joy in life through music favorites. For more information please contact Treemont Health Care Center Activity Director Shay Lajoy at 713-783-4100 or click www.Treemont.com. Treemont is located at 2501 Westerland Dr at Westheimer in the Memorial area.
Treemont Health Care Center is distinguished by: (1) its therapy program; (2) its caring staff; and (3) its small, intimate environment. If you have a question on nursing and rehab in Houston or assisted living, please contact Kelli Walleck at 713-783-4100 or KelliW@TreemontHC.com or www.Treemont.com. You are also invited to tour the Houston assisted living and nursing home and attend an activities event.