Monday, October 10, 2016

Music & Memory Program at Versailles Health Care Center

VHCC long-term care resident Cy Voisard and VHCC Activity Director Kim Fair.
Versailles Health Care Center is proud to announce participation in the nationwide Music and Memory Program that is being utilized to help open up memories in people who have forgotten how to communicate with others in their lives. Many people undergo medical conditions that cause them to close themselves up to what is going on around them. They sit and watch the world go by, without feeling the need to be a part of it. Family members don’t know how to talk or communicate with them. They try and try to find ways to get their loved ones to respond. But nothing works.

Medical professionals often look to antipsychotic medications to try to help alleviate the problems. This doesn’t have to be the first line of defense. Other methods can be tried first, to see if they might have an effect on the patient. One such intervention would be music.

Finding out what type of music that a person enjoys can be a way to open up a person’s memories, or help them feel better. A song that had special meanings for a person can open a mountain of memories. A favorite wedding song or melody that was playing during a special moment can trigger all sorts of memories.

The benefits of music are limitless. Music stimulates the mind. It offers ways to reminisce about events that a person has experienced in their lifetime. It stimulates brain cells to recall emotions that have occurred throughout a person’s lifetime. Music can help boost a person’s energy levels and make their exercise regime more enjoyable. Singing to music helps improve oxygen flow into the body and improves a person’s ability to become more alert, which can lead to increased motor control.

Music can make a person feel better about their self. Research suggests that music can make a person become calmer and can actually help a person experience less pain when they are having issues with controlling their pain. Playing a person’s favorite tunes can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can help lead to better functioning.

And above all, music leads to better communication between loved ones. Dan Cohen, the founder of the Music and Memory Program, noticed the effects that music had on people when their favorite tunes were played for them. He realized that music could play a huge part in bridging the gap between families and their loved ones.

Research suggests that music memory is actually preserved better than short -term memory. The brain offers different ways for information to be accessed, and because of this, it offers another way for memories to be retrieved, that may have been lost within other parts of the brain. Throughout a person’s life, significant achievements and events have been stored in different parts of a person’s brain. Certain songs and melodies trigger emotions that open up connections which lead to memories that have been stored in the brain, just waiting to be accessed.

That’s where Versailles Health Care Center’s program begins. The Activity Department at Versailles Health Care Center has been granted a start up supply of iPods from the local Ombudsman to be used for residents and patients residing at Versailles Health Care Center. Kim Fair, ADC, has been certified by the Music and Memory Program to offer this service to those in need. Fair became certified in March of 2015 and has personally seen the benefits this program offers to its recipients.

Each person who participates in the program has their music tailor-picked specifically for them. Family members help their loved ones identify songs or genres of music that they have enjoyed throughout their life time, which has held special meaning for them. The music is then downloaded onto iPods that are used at specific times. Family members and staff can be educated on how to utilize the program for their loved ones by contacting Kim Fair, ADC at Versailles Health Care Center.

If you would like to see a video of how music awakens the mind, click here. It is a little over two minutes in length, but it is amazing to see how it can change a person’s life.

“The program is one of the most amazing projects I have had the pleasure to work with. It will bring tears to your eyes when you see all the possibilities it can have for a loved one,” Kim Fair, ADC, states.

Versailles Health Care Center is a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that offers long-term care, short-term rehab services, and outpatient therapy. If you are interested in learning more about the Music and Memory Program at Versailles Health Care Center, please call 937.526.5570.

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