A new enhanced audio technology developed by Alzheimer’s Music Connect can help trigger memories and promote a calm and alert state in Alzheimer’s patients, offering hope for caregivers struggling to keep loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease engaged.
The audio technology was pioneered by Ron Gregory, founder of Alzheimer’s Music Connect, after he learned of his mother’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. After looking for solutions and discovering the impact of the technology, he quickly developed a set of Alzheimer’s music products to make the technology accessible to those caring for a loved one fighting the debilitating disease.
“I gravitated toward music as a way to kind of keep her connected,” Gregory says. “The more research I did into music as a therapy…I felt like this is the solution, it’s the music.”
Working with experts, including a neurologist studying brainwaves through EEG, Gregory learned that alpha waves associated with relaxation and alertness are diminished in the brains of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The new audio technology works by synchronizing alpha waves and other calming rhythms with the beat of the music.
Karen Walker, Director of the Glade Adult Day Care Center, has used the music products with promising results:
“One lady who usually sings low and a bit off key was able to sing in a higher octave and break into harmony. Another lady who does not like music much was humming. I could really see that it pulled the overall mood up to a higher level at the end of the day when we really struggle to keep people’s attention.”
Walker is also using the training DVD that comes with several of the products to educate her staff on therapeutic applications of music in activities.
Alzheimer’s Music Connect founder Ron Gregory added that people with Alzheimer’s disease who listened to the enhanced music became more relaxed and in-the-moment. Caregivers are able to relax as well, and enjoy some time to relax while their loved one are engaged in the music.
“We’ve seen it with patients that were noncommunicative … but all the sudden they start to talk and engage and they’re much more in the moment,” Gregory said.
Electroencephalography, or EEG, testing by Dr. Lorianne Avino, a neurologist in Orchard Park, N.Y., found that Alzheimer’s patients who were exposed to the enhanced music had amplified brain activity and increased alertness to the present moment, and they also demonstrated calmness and contentment and sang or hummed along with the music.
“There’s no cure for this disease,” Gregory said, “but there’s a way — and the research shows there’s a way — that these people’s memories are stimulated by music.”
In less than a year, Alzheimer’s Music Connect has released a 5-CD and DVD set of music and information for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers, as well as a CD/DVD combination and two stand-alone CDs for Alzheimer’s patients.
To purchase products to share with a caregiver you know or give to a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you can find products at shop.alzheimersmusicconnect.com.