Avalon Care Centre's iPod Therapy brings residents to life

In January 2016, as a part of a Jarlette Health Services DementiAbility Initiative, Avalon began offering iPod music therapy to residents with dementia, late stage Alzheimer’s, residents with pain or those who may be experiencing sadness or depression. The results have been inspiring: Residents who were once upset, angry and lonely are smiling, clapping, and singing along to their favourite artists.

One particular resident demonstrates the success of music therapy benefits. In December 2013, David Bainbridge moved to Avalon Care Centre. He has dysphagia and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) with trouble breathing, particularly when talking. He was down to saying one word before his coughing and wheezing started. This was difficult for David. He would become frustrated with not being able to communicate his words.
David is sitting in chair with headphones on while his wife Marita looks lovingly at him
During a visit with the Behavioural Support Lead, David expressed that he had not listened to Johnny Cash in four years since he has gotten sick. 

In January, Life Enrichment & Behavioural Support at the home put together a playlist of David’s favourite music, downloading it onto an iPod.  When David heard Johnny Cash for the first time in four years, his face lit up. He began singing, without coughing. He listens and sings along to his songs every day, even bringing it to meals with him. The singing began strengthening his lungs, allowing him to be able to clear his throat and speak in sentences again. 

David continues to listen to his iPod every day. Life Enrichment and Behavioural Support work together to ensure it is always charged, and that new music is added. 

Marita, David’s spouse, has credited the music for “bringing David back to life.” 

In photo: David listens to his iPod while his wife Marita visits with him