12 December, 2014Print
Music & Memory Wraps Breakthrough Year With 950+ New Facilities
2014 has been a watershed year for Music & Memory - the non-profit organization that touches the hearts and minds of Alzheimer’s patients through the power of music. The program, which provides patients with donated iPods and personalized playlists, has gained huge momentum since the beginning of the year. Thanks to an award winning documentary, government support, and family demand, Music & Memory has gone from implementation in 140 facilities, to over 900 in 48 states and eight countries, including Canada, Australia, England, Denmark, Holland, South Africa, and Israel.
*‘Alive Inside,’ the documentary that came into the public eye with the viral “Henry” video in 2012, was released nationwide in 2014 and won audience awards for “Best Documentary” at the Sundance, Sedona, and Provincetown film festivals - as well as four other awards including “Best Documentary” at Milano International Film Festival. The documentary interviews residents and care givers at facilities that have implemented Music & Memory to shed light on the program’s ability to alleviate symptoms without the aid of antipsychotic pharmaceuticals.
*As a response to the enthusiastic reception of Music & Memory, state governments are taking notice and showing their support for the program through funding and statewide implementation initiatives - making it easier for care givers and facilities to become certified. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services launched the Wisconsin Music & Memory Program in January 2014, and have since been working towards their year-end goal of 250 fully certified care facilities. Following Wisconsin’s lead, Ohio and Utah are launching their own statewide Music & Memory initiatives, and several other states are pursuing bringing personalized music to their long-term care facilities, as well.
*Not only are care facilities adopting Music & Memory at a rapidly increasing rate, but a recent survey conducted by Software Advice found that patients and their families are demanding the service as well. The findings show that 83% of prospective care facility residents would favor a facility that offered iPods to residents over one that didn't, and more than 50% would both move outside of their city and choose a more expensive nursing home in order to have access to the program. Read more about the study here.
*There is a strong correlation between facilities that have adopted Music & Memory programs and a reduction in antipsychotic drug use for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In the year since its statewide Music & Memory implementation, Wisconsin has moved from tenth to fourth place among all 50 states in the national effort to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, and saw a drop from 17.4% to 14.6% of residents who are currently being prescribed such drugs. The antipsychotic drugs typically used to treat the behavioral and psychological symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as aggression, delusion, and anxiety, are not free of their own slew of negative side effects - sometimes worse than the symptoms they are intended to treat. The use of music to alleviate symptoms provides little risk of negative side effects for patients, and is often a more effective option than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
*Music publishers and labels are showing their support by donating music to be used in the personalized playlists created for patients. Music catalogues such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, and Barbara Streisand are now available for patient use, free of cost. The new content is accessible through Music & Memory’s in-house delivery system, which provides a platform for music to be transferred securely and efficiently.