Alzheimer Society of Toronto says drug-free intervention is successful for people living with dementia and their caregivers
TORONTO, May 29, 2014 /CNW/ - A new study commissioned by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto says that providing personalized music through an iPod to people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias helps to calm them and reduce their anxieties and fears, while providing their caregivers much-needed respite to focus on other tasks without distraction.
Paul Williams, Lead, Balance of Care Research and Evaluation Group, conducted the study to examine the first year implementation and performance of the Society's Music and Memory: iPod Project. The Project provides iPod shuffles at no charge to Toronto residents living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
Since the Project launched in early 2013, over 1,000 Torontonians have enrolled. Funded in part by the George C. Hunt Family Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Project aims to reach 10,000 people, using music to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers.
Among Williams' key findings:
- Personalized music engages people with dementia and gives them a renewed sense of life.
- Family caregivers feel a sense of relief as those in their care are able to engage their minds in new ways
While music therapy may not work for everyone, the study supports the growing evidence that this low-cost intervention offers a range of benefits.
"Our findings clearly distinguishes music from more costly interventions such as drug therapies and physical restraints which are widely used to manage individuals with challenging behaviours that are associated with dementia," said Williams.
With an aging population and longer life expectancies, dementia and its most common form, Alzheimer's disease, will continue to impact an increasing number of Torontonians.
"Proof keeps piling up that music is a simple yet powerful gift we can provide our clients touched by dementia. This is a tough disease. This is one way we can lessen the impact and make life better at the same time. We're looking forward to expanding our iPod project and other programs and services so we can continue to make a difference," said Cathy Barrick, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Toronto.
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto represents over 43,000 Torontonians living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Across the country, the number of Canadians affected is set to increase from 747,000 today, to 1.4 million by 2031.
For more information about the Music and Memory: iPod Project: http://www.alzheimertoronto.org/ipod.html
About the Alzheimer Society of Toronto
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto provides free counselling, education and information to people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, their families and caregivers. They deliver specialized training and professional development for frontline health-care providers, as well as public education and awareness events to increase accessibility to dementia information.
SOURCE: Alzheimer Society of Toronto
For further information: Media contact: Tina Barduhn, Communications Manager, 416-640-6320, [email protected], www.alzheimertoronto.org