Music and Memory

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MUSIC & MEMORY® is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.

~Contributed by Ina Timmer

My mother had dementia for 12 years before she died. She became increasingly forgetful and withdrawn, her moods changed and she was an altogether different person.

We grew up listening to her singing. She taught us wonderful, silly little Dutch songs and she played the spoons and the harmonica. She loved music. Her grandchildren loved all the funny faces she pulled and the paper airplanes she would fly from the top of the building where she and their grandpa lived and where we would visit every week to eat her famous meatball soup.

It saddened us all to see her deteriorate. But one thing that activated her and brought the sparkle back to her eyes was music. We would sit together and I would sing the songs she taught us and she would respond by tapping her fingers and humming along. Nothing was better at that moment than the smile she gave me and the happiness it radiated. It brought Mom back again, if only for a little while.

I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the Music & Memory program in our home town. Sitting with residents at the local dementia care homes and finding out what music they respond to and then making a personalized playlist for them to listen to is a wonderful thing. Witnessing their delight, hearing them singing and clapping and toe tapping and seeing their surprise when they realize they still know the words is amazing. Music is truly a blessing.

That’s why I’m passionate about this program and talk about it as much as possible and ask people to donate because the program isn’t free. We raise money to purchase small MP3 players and earphones and buy online music so each person in the care homes can benefit from having their own personal music.

I wish I had had the chance to make a playlist for my mother all those years ago.

Take a moment and watch the video of ‘Henry’ and see the effects of music  https://youtu.be/fyZQf0p73QM 

And please help us keep this program going.  https://musicandmemory.org/landing/donate-now