The powerful documentary Alive Inside, created by Music & Memory, became a call to action for Big Island resident Jen McGeehan. Music & Memory (musicandmemory.org) is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with a wide range of cognitive and physical conditions to engage with the world, ease pain and reclaim their humanity through the use of personalized music.
Jen looked for a similar program in Hawai‘i and found none, so she was moved to create her own nonprofit, Remember Thru Music.
Remember Thru Music is a community-based, no cost, public program based on the Big Island that focuses on improving the lives of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia through personalized music. Jen and her team of volunteers provide portable MP3 music players loaded with a personalized selection of songs for eligible applicants.
Family members and/or caregivers are asked to complete a simple music questionnaire for the recipient. What music seems to pique their interest or cause a pleasant reaction from them today? The more specific the details about the recipient you provide the better the selection of songs will be. Then, our team’s “music angel” loads personalized music onto the MP3. This specially selected music can help open doors to their fading memories when little else can. This is evident in the smiles, singing and arm-waving while listening to their own player.
Extensive research has shown that language and visual memory pathways are damaged early on as Alzheimer’s and dementia progress. For patients who are losing contact with their environment, personalized music programs can help activate and calm the brain. Music has been shown to ease anxiety, helping recipients and their caregivers better manage times of stress.
Music can truly become a lifeline between those people living with this debilitating disease and those caring for them. Our No. 1 goal is to get as many of these life-enriching, individually personalized MP3 music players loaded with music and into the lives of those who can benefit most. If you’re caretaking someone you believe may benefit from this program, contact the team using the information below.