Music’s ability to engage people living with Alzheimer’s disease has been studied and proven repeatedly. A new nonprofit called “Music Is Our Weapon” is bringing personalized playlists to people living with dementia.
Learn more about this nonprofit on a mission to use music against Alzheimer’s, and how it is improving the quality of life for people living with all stages of cognitive impairment.
Using Music to Break Through Cognitive Barriers
Many studies have shown that music has power to reach the hearts and minds of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, even those in the most advanced stages.
A popular YouTube video shows the power of music to reach the depths of people who have not communicated with loved ones in years. A recent study showed that people with dementia can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance after singing classic hits and show tunes from movies and musicals.
The power of music for all people, and especially those who are living with dementia, is undeniable.
Music Is Our Weapon
Last year, JP Maloney and Ashley Brightwell started a nonprofit called “Music Is Our Weapon,” with the goal of bringing music and personalized playlists to seniors with memory loss.
As they collect iPods, MP3 players, and other music-playing devices, they create a personalized playlist to increase engagement with the listener. Volunteers accompany Maloney and Brightwell to make their deliveries and help the users become familiar with their playlists and devices.
While their most popular genre is gospel, other genres are represented. The founders take the time to get to know the listener through a questionnaire and get as much information as possible about the listener to make a playlist that will meet their needs.
Co-founder Ashely Brightwell said:
“Music Is Our Weapon strives to connect with memory-care residents on an intimate level through music. Exposing these residents to music sentimental to their past personal experiences helps them rediscover themselves, as well as unlocking doors to special moments in their life. Music fills a void and acts as a vessel for care on an emotional level, care that no prescribed medicine can possibly provide.
Join the Mission to Use Music Against Alzheimer’s
As stated on the Music Is Our Weapon website:
“The overall mission of Music Is Our Weapon is to embrace the power of music and shed it in the proper light it merits. As any music blog does, we share a wide range of music. But what sets us apart is that we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that embraces the power of music in the fight to combat cognitive erosion. Music is woven deep into our neurological DNA and has the ability to positively affect us through the very darkness we are fighting through. Music is a powerful force for good in the world and the perfect platform for us. Music Is Our Weapon to fighting losing ourselves and those we love.”
The organization depends entirely on volunteers and relies on donations for new or used devices. To join their mission and the fight to combat cognitive erosion using music, you are encouraged to donate iPods, headphones and laptops, which are needed to create a personalized music program. Music Is Our Weapon also accepts monetary donations as well as iTunes gift cards.
The organization is looking to add to their volunteer base and would love to have people spread the word about their work, work at events, or take their time to help facilitate the music program. Learn more at: http://musicisourweapon.org/
Have you seen the positive effects of music on memory? Would you consider getting involved with Music Is Our Weapon? How so? Share your story with us in the comments below.