The power of music to support people with dementia

The power of music to support people with dementia


Mom is on the ipod program and I can’t thank you enough.  When she is agitated, I turn her iPod and she starts dancing and humming away.
-Daughter of woman with dementia

Have you met someone who didn’t like music? I haven’t.  A love of music is hardwired into the human psyche. People with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias are no different.

Two years ago at our offices in Toronto, I watched Dan Cohen, founder of Music and Memory in New York City, present at our office and share with us this simple yet powerful concept: the hidden power of music to bring back memories can improve mood, speech and cognition of people with dementia.

What’s the science behind this claim? Dementia affects established pathways of speech and other mental functions. Music therapy is effective because it connects to speech and other lost functions through different neural pathways that the disease has affected in the same way.

Today, iPod programs are springing up in different Alzheimer Societies across the province.  It’s exciting to see this idea improve the lives of so many Ontarians with dementia.

Here’s a list of the local Alzheimer Societies who offer them:


If you want more information about an iPod project or other Alzheimer Society services in your area, contact your local Alzheimer Society.

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