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Social Interaction and Music

Supportive Living

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are often isolated and have poor social interaction with family, caregivers and friends. Music can promote better verbal communication and socialization skills and can also have a positive effect on mood level and reality orientation. Recent studies suggest that persons with cognitive disabilities may be especially responsive to this form of therapy.

At Dolan Memory Care Homes our activities staff and several of our CarePartners have been trained and certified in the Music and Memory program developed by social worker Dan Cohen. The program website discusses music and the individual responses.

“Our ongoing research and evaluation of Music and Memory’s work in care organizations’ shows consistent results:

  • Participants are happier and more social.
  • Relationships among staff, participants and family deepen.
  • Everyone benefits from a calmer, more supportive social environment.
  • Staff regains valuable time previously lost to behavior management issues.
  • There is growing evidence that a personalized music program gives professionals one more tool in their effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications.”



Music Therapy

Current research also explains that the brain processes music in multiple areas. Interestingly enough, those areas tend to be less damaged by Alzheimer’s disease. A great way to put this concept into practice is to include music in your loved one’s day to bring them moments of enjoyment, familiarity, and well-being.

Music therapy and music-appreciation programs are becoming a regular activity in some memory care and senior living communities. Music is a wonderful medium for reminiscing with those with memory loss. While they may not recall every detail from events in the past, certain songs and types of music can stimulate the brain to recall some of the emotions and memories of days past.

Dolan Memory Care Homes recognizes the connections with music of all types and genres. Our activities program includes musical offerings several times a month in each household. The performers range from a music therapist to folk guitar and jazz pianist. Our Residents and CarePartners gather to listen and participate in the mini-concerts.

Our trained CarePartners will also utilize the individualized iPods that each resident is given on move-in for participation in the Music and Memory program.



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“As long as people have a need, and I can provide a place, I’ll keep doing it.”

-Tim Dolan, Founder

A person residing in a dementia care center near Clayton, MO