Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Study Shows iPods Are Important for Elders Too!

Katherine Merullo

This fall, Dan Cohen presented "Alive Inside", the remarkable documentary on the impacts of music and memory in dementia patients.  This documentary highlights how residents are happier and more social and have deepened relationships among staff, residents and family after listening to personalized music lists on iPods.
 
 Music &  Memory is an organization that trains elder care professionals how to set up personalized music playlists, delivered on iPods and other digital devices, for those in long term care. These musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present. Music & Memory’s work is rooted in extensive neuroscience research.

We are witnessing that a personalized music program gives professionals one more tool in their effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications. Staff can regain valuable time previously lost to behavior management issues.

The perceived value of music in the long term care setting may be changing some minds considering research by outside groups.   A recent study conducted by Software Advice discovered the appeal of digital music integration in long-term care settings.
 
 Key Findings Include:
  • Most respondents (83 percent) would favor a nursing home that offered residents iPods with individualized playlists versus a similar nursing home that did not. 
  • Half of respondents would consider moving outside their city to find a nursing home that offered residents iPods, with 8 percent willing to move out of state.
  • More than half of respondents would spend more money on a nursing home that offered residents personalized iPods.  
Research Commentary
 
  “This is an example of how a small piece of technology can make a big impact,” says Software Advice researcher Gaby Loria. “Our research shows iPod-integrated care has the power to make long-term care facilities more popular and profitable by drawing potential residents who are willing to pay extra and travel farther for it.”
 
 As for the appeal of digital music integration programs in long-term care settings, Loria says, “We found the overwhelming majority of nursing home seekers think fostering mental agility is just as important as maintaining bodily health.” Research is still underway to define the mental and physical benefits of listening to one’s favorite songs in old age, but respondents who favor the technology already see its value. For all the anecdotal evidence that dementia therapy using music helps people who suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia maintain quality of life, and despite the medical community's general regard of music as a good thing, music therapy still lacks the statistical evidence that shows it works for everyone.
 
To find the data in this report, Software Advice conducted a three-day online survey and gathered 1,557 responses from people within the United States who were trying to choose or identified as someday needing a nursing home for self or loved one. For more information, visit http://www.softwareadvice.com/long-term-care/.

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