Saint Simeon’s recently unveiled a new program called Music and Memory, sponsored by LeadingAge. Life Enrichment staff members interview Memory Center Residents about their musical tastes, and they then load iPods for the Residents with the exact songs and artists the Residents enjoy. “It is very personalized,” said Chris Gruszeczki, Administrator.
Music is used every day in Residents’ lives as a calming technique, a way to help them wake up in the morning, or even a way to get them to come out of their shell. “One Memory Center Resident wasn’t talking at all,” Gruszeczki said. “We gave him a CD player with some of his favorite music in it, and afterwards, he conversed for the first time with our staff.”
Gruszeczki said that while former Residents enjoyed music from the ‘20s and ‘30s like big band, today’s Residents span a number of decades and like music from the ‘40s and ‘50s, and even the Beatles and ‘70s rock and roll.
“Music touches everyone – no matter what their condition or cognitive status,” Gruszeczki said. “Residents in the late stages of dementia may not talk anymore, but they can still sing. People who can’t do anything for themselves will still tap their toe along to music.”