Music & Memory is a program in which residents who suffer from cognitive and physical impairments find renewed meaning in their lives through the gift of personalized music. Having dementia or physical limitations can be isolating, but music creates a positive therapeutic outlet and has the ability to tap into lost memories and awaken residents, enabling them to feel like their forgotten selves; to converse, socialize, and stay present. Music and Memory can help bring dignity to people suffering from memory impairment, and optimism and comfort to their families and friends.
Research has shown that programs like the Music & Memory program that have been facilitated in senior care facilities around the country result in happier and more social residents. These programs tend to deepen relationships among staff, residents, and family, and create a calmer, more supportive social environment. They have also helped to reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues among individuals with memory impairment.
Three years ago, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, with a grant from Lutheran Charities of WNY and the Lutheran Foundation, started a ministry with The GreenFields Continuing Care Community linking tech-savvy teenagers from Organic Youth, a youth ministry program and resource for the Lutheran Churches in the Buffalo-Niagara region of Western New York, with residents at the nursing home. Using iPods and headsets, music of the residents’ youth was played. The teens then struck up conversations with the residents.
The teens made comments on their log sheets such as: “It is fun to hear about how life was in the past.” “It was fun. Must do it again.” “It was an awesome experience talking to a veteran about the military.”
Pictured in the photo are members of Organic Youth of WNY: Seminarian Rick Mollenkopf-Grill, Connor Reese, Stephan Rhodeithal, Ben Gordon, Christine Rick-Reese, Grandmother Reese, Devin Reese.
On December 23, 2017, Pat Ulrich and Laura Loehr, Music and Memory Coordinators of the grant, presented additional equipment worth $4,600.00 to Marybeth Mego, Recreation Director at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, courtesy of additional grants from Lutheran Charities of WNY and the Lutheran Foundation, to expand the program. Part of this additional equipment included some robo-cats, which can be as soothing to the patients as the music experience.
On December 18, Ulla and Peter Bak of the Bak USA Company of Buffalo, presented Holy Trinity with ten tablets to be used by shut-ins and those in nursing homes to access live-streaming of the church services. This generous gift will allow a connection to their churches, even though at present they are unable to attend services.
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster, NY provides residential living at GreenField Manor and assisted living at GreenField Court. GreenField Terrace provides memory care and enhanced assisted living. GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center provides 24-hour skilled nursing care, dementia care, respite care and myriad rehabilitation services.