Impact of Music within Senior Living Communities

Impact of Music Within Senior Living Communities

Music has an impact on almost every human being on the planet. Whether you are working out, listening to it in the car, music positively impacts a person’s overall mood in some way, shape, or form. One group of people that music has a significant impact on is Alzheimer/Dementia patients.


The HappyGram team had the opportunity to speak with Kay Coover of Pine Acres Rehabilitation and Living Center located in Dekalb, Illinois. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and the coordinator of Music and Memory in her community. In this discussion with Kay, she offered up the background on Music & Memory©, the impact, and resources for others on the music and memory initiative.

Not many people are familiar with the impact music has on a person’s memory within nursing homes and the everlasting impact it can leave on their patients. Music and Memory© is an activity of enrichment implemented by nursing homes for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Music can also be impactful to some patients with communication deficits. Music is one way to help individuals living with dementia connect to memories, words, and, most importantly, their loved ones.


Music can stimulate so many things within a resident’s mind. One thing Alzheimer’s & Dementia attacks is memory or train of thought. If a resident struggles with memory, you can play music to their liking, and that memory can start to come back to them.


Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a devastating disease that has impacted millions of lives across the world. Another thing music does is offers up a way of communicating and expressing emotions within these patients. You may say to yourself, “There is no way my loved one would be able to respond to music,” or “My parents hate music; it would just make her more upset.” Well, listen to a couple of these stories Kay personally experienced, and you might be surprised.


You may be a loved one asking yourself, where can I find resources to get my patient involved with Music & Memory©? As always, Google is a great resource. One documentary that is another excellent resource is Alive Inside by Dan Cohen. A simple way to implement music into your resident’s life is by personalizing their playlist. To stimulate the most interaction, take the patient’s year of birth and add 23 years. In that specific year, find artists in the music genre that is most compatible with the patient. It is beneficial to use headphones for these activities, as it blocks out any outside noises and doesn’t interrupt the resident’s experience. Each session should only last about 15-20 minutes.

Music’s positive impact on memory is an excellent addition for our loved ones in senior living communities. 

Let’s all be thankful for the simple things, like music, that can improve a person’s mind and overall well-being.


Dementia Care Central