New music study helps patients with memory disorders

New music study helps patients with...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The power of remembering days of yesteryear is being ignited by the tiniest of devices.

15 patients at the Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria are now a part of a case study by the California Association of Health Facilities and UC Davis.

The study's goal: learn how music can help those with memory disorders.

"When music is applied, it kinda connects to something in the brain where it triggers an emotional recall so different events in their life, maybe their  first love, their wedding dance," explains Randi Vargas, Coordinator of the Music and Memory program at the facility.

Each patient gets a personalized playlist, with any artist of their choosing. That's helped build the care center's iTunes library - it's now at more than nine thousand songs and counting.

The patients' family members say they've seen a big change since their loved ones got involved in the study.

"You know what it's made a big difference I can see it - her feet start tapping and she starts moving back and forth and it's making her feel good so it's a good deal," says Martin Silva, son of a Music and Memory participant.

"She knows every word to every song - she can't remember what she had for lunch but she can sing along with every song," Velma Knapp, daughter of a Music and Memory patient tells us.

Bringing families back together beat by beat, this study is showing that memories can come back organically.

"In some cases, this musical therapy has helped them decrease psychotropics for a lot of people so not only is it helping their quality of life, but they're decreasing all these medications they're putting in their bodies," Vargas says.

Country Oaks Care Center hopes to eventually get iPods for everyone in their facility.


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