Amana Living to Help Dementia Sufferers with Music

Amana Living client Mary Mitchell listening to the Beatles with enrichment manager Emily Scarff.
Amana Living client Mary Mitchell listening to the Beatles with enrichment manager Emily Scarff.

MUSIC could be the secret to unlocking memories in dementia sufferers and a local aged care provider plans to implement the program to do it.

Based on the US Music and Memory initiative, Amana Living’s new program will involve creating personalised playlists to release deep memories that had previously fallen victim to dementia.

Amana Living has employed an experienced music therapist to identify songs personally meaningful for group and individual therapy sessions incorporating singing and movement.

Amana Living enrichment manager Emily Scarff, of North Perth, said the simple concept of incorporating music could have surprisingly big benefits for dementia sufferers.

“Using iPods to deliver personalised playlists is such a simple concept, however the impact it can have is astounding,” Ms Scarff said.

“During the trial of the project we have seen our residents come alive in front of our very eyes when they listen to their favourite songs.”

The program will be piloted at Amana Living’s two integrated dementia service centres with the support of the organisation’s dementia and IT specialists.

Within three years, the program will be reviewed and rolled out across care centres, with up to 1000 residents and clients benefiting.

Amana Living chief executive Ray Glickman said the US program showed music could have a consistent positive impact.

“We know music taps into a part of the brain that remains very much alive yet hard to reach for people living with dementia,” he said.

“Faces light up, people reconnect with their loved ones and lives are enriched.”