Music and videos reduce sundowning symptoms and improve quality of life at Frost Manor: iPods, DVDs and videotapes are helping residents reminisce

Many long-term care residents living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia experience “sundowning,” or increased confusion that happens in the late afternoon or early evening.

At Frost Manor, staff members have found valuable resources to help curb agitation, and it can be as simple as playing a song or putting on a video for people to watch.

Vi O’Leary, the Lindsay long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says giving a resident experiencing sundowning an iPod with their favourite music or putting on a videotape or DVD are two ways to stop agitation and increase quality of life for people.

Frost Manor recently started using iPods with residents. After speaking with residents’ families and consulting care plans, playlists have been downloaded on to the iPods, customized to specific residents.

“We have one lady in particular who doesn’t communicate very well at all, but you can put the music headphones on her and she loves it,” Vi says. “It’s very relaxing for the residents. … We’ve been doing this practically on a daily basis.”

Music therapy has proven to be effective at enhancing quality of life for residents at other OMNI Health Care long-term care homes. In 2015, Streamway Villa launched its Music and Memory program. Riverview Manor and Springdale Country Manor also have iPod programs that have been beneficial to residents affected by cognitive impairment.

Frost Manor also has VCR and DVD players for residents to watch films and TV programs about topics of interest to them.

Sometimes staff members can put on a videotape of an older TV program – Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons, for example – that will garner residents’ interest.

“There will be about three or four residents in the room at a time when we put this on, and they actually watch it,” Vi says. “And it’s amazing how they will remember these shows.”

This story was published by Axiom News, originally on OMNI Health Care’s website, The OMNIway. Reposted with permission.