Music helps local seniors with cognitive and physical challenges

Music helps local seniors with cognitive and physical challenges

HANCOCK — Several centers for the elderly in the Copper Country are turning to a new form of treatment that, for residents, is music to their ears. ABC 10’s Keweenaw Bureau Reporter Rick Allen has the story.

Music, it soothes us, enlivens us, and it is now being used to break through barriers to reach senior citizens with cognitive and physical challenges.

The program is called Alive Inside, and it is being used at Cypress Manor Health and Rehabilitation in Hancock. Many residents struggle with memory loss, depression, and isolation.

Cypress Manor Volunteer Carolyn Peterson saw the film “Alive Inside” at the Michigan Tech film festival in 2014 and knew it would be perfect for our area, “Thee people there are still very much people and they are alive but then need sometimes to have a little spark to remind them of what is still possible for them.”

Residents were given iPods programmed with a playlist of their favorite songs. The results have been improved memory and mood.

Cypress Manor Social Services Assistant Jenna Delisle said, “It gives them the opportunity to reflect on where they heard those songs and make that connection that they haven’t maybe made in a long time.”

The Keweenaw Community Foundation and the Portage Health Foundation teamed up to bring the program to the area. It’s part of an international project called “Music and Memory” that is helping to improve the lives of these residents.

Cypress Manor Resident Betty Cowling likes, “The old time music, it’s really good. ‘Spinning Wheel In The Parlor’ and ‘Moonlight on the River Colorado’, all those old oldies. Sure brings back memories, My mom used to sit at the piano and play all those old time songs and us kids would gather around and sing. It brings back all that. It’s really nice.”

Cypress Manor is one of three nursing homes currently participating in the program along with the Houghton County Medical Care Facility in Hancock and Gardenview Assisted Living and Memory Care in Calumet. And their participation is greatly appreciated.

Cowling said, “Oh, thanks a million! I just love it!”