Power of music helps unlock memory

Emily Scarff and Doreen Dearden. Picture: Matt Jelonek           d449342
Emily Scarff and Doreen Dearden. Picture: Matt Jelonek         d449342

The program, based on a similar initiative run in the US, was launched by Amana Living this month.

It involves using personalised playlists to unlock forgotten memories.

Amana Living chief executive Ray Glickman said music “taps into a part of the brain that remains very much alive yet hard to reach for people living with dementia”.

“The US experience shows consistently that music can stimulate old memories; faces light up, people reconnect with their loved ones, and lives are enriched,” he said.

Amana Living has also employed a music therapist to help pick out relevant music and to deliverer sessions incorporating singing and movement.

Enrichment manager Emily Scarff said the program should aid the recollection of memories, increase communication and interaction, increase family and intergenerational links, and improve specific conditions or behaviours.

“Importantly, our program will have a strong focus on sustainability,” she said. “We will look closely at how we can train family, volunteers and staff to deliver the personalised music sessions at a site level.

The program will be piloted at Amana Living’s two integrated dementia service centres before being rolled out across its 13 residential care centres.

One of those will be Coolbellup’s Hale Hostel.