The Alzheimer’s Music project seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with personalized music that can stimulate memory and enhance positive emotions. Using digital music technology and a playlist tailored for each person, the lives of those suffering with cognitive difficulties can be profoundly affected. Familiar and beloved music helps to calm chaotic brain activity; the listener is more able to focus on the present moment and regain a sense of connection to others.
The Alzheimer’s Music Project's service area covers Western Massachusetts, bringing the gift of music to individuals living both at home and in nursing care facilities. Our work is inspired by Dan Cohen, the NY social worker whose organization, Music and Memory, has led to the introduction of personalized music in nursing homes across the United States. (www.musicandmemory.org) Research and empirical observation clearly shows the positive impact of personalized music for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
We work with family members and caregivers to create personalized playlists on iPods, which enable those struggling with cognitive challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. All services and equipment are provided free of charge, through a generous initial donation by the Pittsburgh-based Hyman Family Foundation. Additionally, donations from families, community members and local foundations help us reach a larger number of people who can benefit from therapeutic music.
The Alzheimer’s Music Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization led by Executive Director Peter Acker. Peter has worked as sound editor and producer for over three decades. When Peter’s father –in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Peter experienced the difficult impact on his father-in-law’s life and his whole family. Witnessing the effect of personal music and the peace and joy it ushered, inspired Peter to create an organization that would bring this gift to more people.