Wilton Meadows: Music revives memories

The staff at Wilton Meadows has always known that music is an essential factor in creating a positive environment for residents. The Music & Memory Program does much more. For Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and neurological impairments , music can help recover memories. Familiar music is a lifeline to those with dementia.
“Where words often fail, music can thrive,” said Danielle Ancona, director of therapeutic recreation and certified dementia practitioner at Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on Danbury Road.
Music & Memory brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm using digital music technology.
Each resident is provided with an iPod loaded with a customized playlist of favorite songs. Family members help provide such specific music interests.   
“The personalized playlists are key. Some residents love classical music, others the big bands. One resident, who was a Sunday school teacher, responds to religious music. Knowing our residents and their histories is critical in implementing this program effectively,” said Ancona.
Favorite tunes can break through the isolation of dementia and bring back memories. Residents will respond to their wedding song, though they may not remember their spouse’s name or when they married.
Residents who previously were remote, disengaged and completely unresponsive can become animated, tap, sway, and sing. Staff at Wilton Meadows has been trained to understand the whole procedure. Additionally, a music therapist on staff provides one-to-one music visits.
For more information, or to become a part of this program at Wilton Meadows, email Danielle Ancona at daniellea@wiltonmeadows.com. Donations of gently used iPods are always welcome.