Angela Bianchi may not hear the music her aunt, Domenica, hears when she’s plugged into her iPod, but she can see the effect on her aunt all the same.
Domenica was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago and displayed frequent signs of agitation and delirium. Now 93 and in long-term care, music from her native Italy soothes her senses, and she’ll even sing along to favorite songs.
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s iPod Project is responsible for easing some of Domenica’s anxiety. Modeled after Music and Memory out of New York, volunteers for the iPod Project help family caregivers fill up donated iPods with songs their loved ones will enjoy. Music from someone’s teenage years, for example, can reawaken feelings that act as a balm against boredom, withdrawal, and depression.
While music is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, the effect on persons with dementia can be extraordinary. Unresponsive patients will start moving their arms as if they’re dancing. Others will break down in tears from happiness.
What music does your loved one enjoy? Have you built a playlist for him or her?
about the iPod Project.