Home > Activities, Media, Memory, Technology, Treatment > Window To the Soul

Window To the Soul

I read a news article today that was truly inspiring.  It described the work being done with residents of nursing homes, listening to music from their youth via an iPod.  Starting in 2008, a social worker named Dan Cohen distributed 200 iPods to residents of four local nursing homes.  Below is a clip of one of these people, a man with dementia who was almost totally shut away from the outside world, until he was exposed to some well-loved music from his past.  Suddenly, he opens up and is even able to answer questions and carry on a conversation.

The benefits of using music in the treatment of persons with dementia, and other disorders, has long been documented.  But this study makes the intervention more personal; using music selected especially for a particular individual, and using headphones to help him focus and shut out distracting sounds from the environment.

I’m definitely going to be doing some investigating of my own, with the persons I work with on a daily basis.  By the way, the social worker I mentioned earlier has started a non-profit organization called Music and Memory, that solicits donations of iPods online and through donation boxes in Broadway theaters, and then distributes them to nursing homes.  You can read more about his work at http://www.musicandmemory.org/.

Here’s another interesting tidbit.  The Dr. Oliver Sacks, who speaks during the video, is the neurologist who inspired the 1990 movie “Awakenings,” starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro.

Enjoy.  And grab a hankie or two.  Or three.

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