‘A deep part of being human’

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‘A deep part of being human’

Personalized music reaches dementia patients
Playlist suggestions

The music chosen for those dealing with dementia needs to be their personal favorites, not just the music from their era. Christy Ludwig has also learned that they want the original hit, not a cover. It’s never too early to begin compiling a playlist, she said, adding that her mother, who’s perfectly healthy, has begun putting hers together after seeing the success of the program.
These artists have been particularly popular at Four Corners Health Care Center:
1950s crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and Perry Como.
1950s rockers including Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, (young) Elvis Presley and Fats Domino.
Bluesman B.B. King.
The surfing sounds of the Beach Boys.
Folk music by Peter, Paul and Mary.
Movie soundtracks, with the top two selections being “Wizard of Oz” and “Sound of Music.”
Country classics, particularly Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline and John Denver.
Contemporary country, especially Dwight Yoakam and Chris Ledoux.
Big Band/Swing music, especially Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, the Andrews Sisters and Tommy Dorsey.
Easy listening, with Rosemary Clooney a favorite.
Vocal jazz music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Harry Connick Jr.
Gospel music.
Patriotic songs, including “God Bless America,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Home on the Range,” “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Music and memory at home

Many people suffering from forms of dementia are cared for by family members, which can be quite stressful at times. Research has been done testing the Music and Memory program, finding it significantly calms agitation, a common symptom of dementia.
A resource guide and other information about the program is available at www.musicandmemory.org.
Here are some tips for utilizing Music and Memory at home:
Many elders are uncomfortable around the headphones. Giving them a chance to look at them and touch them before putting them on can help with the discomfort.
A playlist needs to be designed for each person. It may take some trial and error to create the ideal playlist, so watching which songs are repeated most and which songs they respond to can help weed out the songs they don’t like.
Music and Memory has discovered that an iPod Shuffle, which is simple to use, is the ideal technology for patients with dementia.

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