Story Feature

On April 14, 2016, select associates and volunteers at Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands in Friday Harbor, Washington, became certified in the Music & Memory program.


Music and Memory is a nationally recognized program featured on major news outlets, and it has drawn the attention of millions across the internet. The program uses personalized music playlists to bring comfort and joy to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It has been tremendously successful throughout the nation.


Under the direction of Nick Young, activity director, the program launched at Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands with three associates and six volunteers earning certification by completing a three-day online training program through the Music and Memory company.


Associates assist the volunteers, handle the equipment and maintain all the documentation and inventory, while volunteers spend time with residents or their family members to find what kind of music the resident liked in his or her younger days. This music is then compiled into a specialized playlist that can retrieve positive memories from long ago.


“When [one of the residents] is listening to her music, she dances, smiles and sings,” said Carol Shrek, director of nursing. “This makes everyone in the facility happy, even though she’s the only one who can hear the music.”


Since the launch of the program, seven new volunteers have joined the facility to help with the program.


Associates and volunteers have been vital in getting the program off the ground, from collecting iPod donations to purchasing iTunes gift cards and a new laptop. The facility has partnered with Hospice of San Juan, a nonprofit organization, to help solicit and manage donations.


“This is a very exciting program that is producing outstanding results in nursing homes/assisted living centers throughout the nation,” said Young. “We at Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands have seen immediate success and are very excited about this program.”


Paul Fox, one of the volunteers, said it is refreshing to work with the residents.


“I love music and getting to sit down with the residents and talk to them about music and the kinds of music they used to like,” said Fox. “[It is] a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to go back in again to make some more playlists.”


Story Tagged: Alzheimer's and Dementia Care