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Woodingford Lodge introduced innovative Music & Memory program to help calm and comfort residents with music

Stay calm and put the music on.

That’s a new strategy at Woodingford Lodge, where an innovative music program is improving the quality of life for dozens of residents.

The long-term care home has introduced the Music & Memory program developed by American social worker Dan Cohen.

And it’s making a big difference at Woodingford.

“Since the beginning of the program, we’ve certainly seen an improvement in residents’ social engagement, we’ve seen a reduction in medication where appropriate, and overall we’ve seen an improvement in the residents’ quality of life just through the art of music,” said Mark Dager, a registered practical nurse at Woodingford Lodge.

The program is currently in use at the Woodstock and Tillsonburg sites, and will be rolled out in Ingersoll shortly.

It's all about tailoring music to each resident. High school volunteers helped to load up iPods with tunes that speak to the 55 participants.

“That playlist will help to recreate very pleasant and happy memories from years past,” Dager said. “It could be songs from a wedding, it could be songs from important events in their life.”

The team at Woodingford found out about Music & Memory about a year and a half ago, and decided to purchase the program, especially since it’s an option to improve quality of life without drugs.

“Staff will offer (the music device) to the residents to offer them comfort, purpose, and to help reduce episodes of boredom and give them a little bounce to their step throughout the day,” Dager said.

Woodingford Lodge also put together a video to showcase the program and its influence on residents, which can be seen on YouTube and will be shown at a special event on Dec. 13. That night will also include a screening of Alive Inside, an award-winning film about the Music & Memory program.

The Woodingford video captured local residents smiling and dancing along to the music in their headphones.

Staff also found that music is a great calming mechanism for residents that are upset or lashing out.

“(By) looking for non-pharmacological approaches and the absence of medications, the joy and the benefits that we’ve seen in the application of music certainly has reduced those episodes of…behaviours,” Dager said.

Residents at Woodingford might be offered their headphones and iPod during a tough day or moment.

But they also groove to the music just for fun.

“Families are seeing their loved ones coming alive. They see them keeping beat to music, they see them enjoying the music,” Dager said.

It helps families connect when chatting isn't an option.

“In the absence of words, when they may not be able to communicate (verbally) with their loved one, they have that enjoyment in their visits just enjoying a moment of music,” Dager added.


Music & Memory Night

Featuring video from Woodingford Lodge and

Woodingford Lodge, 300 Juliana Dr.

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Free admission, donations welcome

See the video:



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