Living Care Releases New Music Therapy Pilot Study Showing Increased Brain Power, Decreased Aggressive Behaviors among Seniors Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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Seniors used iPods as therapy to lessen anxieties, traumatic memories, provided mood and emotional stabilization

Cora, pilot-study participant singing a song using her iPod and songbook – Quail Park of Lynnwood, WA

Breaking the generational gap by providing iPods to listen to their favorite music is the most ideal way to ensure the therapy’s effectiveness.

Living Care Lifestyles, the leader and simply the best in senior lifestyle communities, partnered with the Snohomish County Music Project(SCMP), to conduct a pilot study at Quail Park of Lynnwood, to assess the effectiveness of music with seniors living with Alzheimer’s and late stages of dementia.

Using the Likert Scale to track behaviors, the participants in the pilot study showed consistent memory recall, improvement of moods and emotions, a decrease in agitation and aggressive behaviors, increased cognitive function, and coordinated motor movements.

Participants were given iPods with their favorite genre of music and songs loaded on the iPods to use during the music therapy sessions and regular activities of the day. Due to the generational gap, most seniors don’t own or use iPods. Family members of the participants assisted with the music selections which was the key to successful outcomes.

“Music is the last remaining ability a person with late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s has, and reaching them with music is the most powerful way to go beyond the disease and help them with problematic behaviors,” said Maggi Broggel, RN, C LNC and vice president of Clinical Services at Living Care Lifestyles. “Breaking the generational gap by providing iPods to listen to their favorite music is the most ideal way to ensure the therapy’s effectiveness.”

According to Christine Browne, life enhancement director for the Memory Care Residences at Quail Park of Lynnwood, music therapy literally had an “awakening” effect among the participants. “Most of the residents for the study had agitation problems, some were very aggressive, others couldn’t communicate but with music therapy sessions, their bad behaviors went away,” said Browne. “More importantly, music brought back their emotions and feelings of life when nothing else can, in which their feelings are often lost in late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.”

One of the more dramatic results from the pilot study was from Cora. When she was an older child, Cora was traumatized by the tragic murder of her father that still affected her. In the pilot study video, she was given her songbook and an iPod and showed expressions of happiness for the first time in years (photos included).

“We introduced music therapy to reduce Cora’s trauma over her father’s death so that she could ultimately celebrate his life instead of mourning her loss that still haunted her with dreams to this day,” said Karla Hawley, board-certified music therapist for the Snohomish County Music Project. “We sang Happy Birthday to her dad and we were able to reminisce about him, sang songs to him which in turn, provided her with positive experiences and thoughts that replaced her traumatic ones,” said Hawley. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

The singing sessions in the study engaged more than just the brain and the area related to singing. As singing activated the left side of the brain, listening to music sparked activity in the right side areas of the brain. With so much of the brain being stimulated, the patients were exercising more mind power than usual. This led to an increase of positive social behaviors and interactions with the caregivers and staff.

Attention video/photo journalists:
Due to the findings and positive experiences by all the participants of the pilot study, music therapy sessions continue to at Quail Park of Lynnwood. If you would like to schedule time to shoot video or photos of the music therapy sessions, please contact Tod Steward at tods(AT) or call 206-441-1770.

Quail Park of Lynnwood
Quail Park of Lynnwood(independent, assisted living, memory care) is the premier senior lifestyle community for Snohomish County – offering only the finest in Retirement Living. Our philosophy is driven by your every desire... with limitless options and amenities that craft the perfect blend of tranquility and life enhancement. Just five minutes from the center of Lynnwood's upscale shopping and dining options and nestled on a peaceful evergreen hilltop, follow a winding nature drive and enter a new sanctuary and home. From the ideal location, Bailey’s Pub, pool and fitness center and beautiful interior to the Signature Anytime Dining Experience™ and life enhancing activities, every detail has been thoughtfully planned as "Simply the Best in Senior Living" in the greater Lynnwood area. Quail Park of Lynnwood is one of several exclusive communities owned and operated by Living Care Lifestyles based in Seattle, and is part of the family of Living Care lifestyle communities.

About Living Care Lifestyles
Living Care Lifestyles, founded in 2001, is the leader and simply the best in senior lifestyles communities. The organization has communities located in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Lifestyle options include Dining, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living and Memory Care which includes the Tribute Program™. The unique program focuses on the needs of persons living with Alzheimer’s and dementia by paying tribute to each individual’s previous accomplishments while focusing on the persons remaining strengths and present relationships. Living Care Lifestyles is committed to offering the best in senior living care.

Snohomish County Music Project
The Snohomish County Music Project(SCMP) has been providing music services to the Everett community since 1935. In 2011 the Board of Directors of the Everett Symphony undertook a new mission, “to use the power of music to inspire people to do good things for their communities and for themselves”, and reorganized as the Snohomish County Music Project (Music Project). From its origin as the Everett Symphony, the Music Project has transformed into a human services organization that is bringing the power of music therapy to healthcare in Snohomish County by using music as a tool to address clinical, therapeutic goals. The SCMP is also the proud manager of the Northwest Music Hall, providing a vibrant performing arts and event space in support of community philanthropy and artistic inspiration.

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Tod Steward
Living Care Lifestyles
+1 (206) 619-0236
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