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Music & Memory Receives Financial Backing

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Music & MemoryMusic & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life. Music & Memory is "re-awakening" elders with Alzheimer's through personalized playlists -- has received financial backing from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

For a nonprofit founded singlehandedly by Long Islander Dan Cohen in 2006, securing this support is a major breakthrough, allowing Music & Memory to spread its simple approach of using personalized music to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other cognitive disorders. In a broader sense, the state funding represents a paradigm shift in the way Alzheimer's and elder care is thought of in general, as the medical community rethinks the importance of supplementing medication with other non-pharmacological practices.

In August, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) launched a program to bring Music & Memory to 100 nursing facilities across the state, for a total outlay of over $200,000. At each home, 15 residents are participating in the program thanks to full state funding for caregiver certification training and equipment (iPod Shuffles, headphones, speakers, iTunes gift cards). According to the DHS, the goal of the program is to decrease patients' agitation, isolation and depression, increase their engagement and socialization, and reduce their reliance on antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications — all results that have been documented at facilities that have implemented the Music & Memory approach.

In New Jersey, Music & Memory has secured a grant of $28,100 from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to reach 350 elderly residents in 10 Newark nursing homes. And now the North Carolina state government, the most recent to seek statewide adoption, is encouraging its 400 nursing homes to apply for available state funding.

As the Music & Memory approach proves successful in Wisconsin, New Jersey and North Carolina, Cohen expects the number of participating states to continue to grow.

Read our previous article on Music & Memory from July last year.

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