TAMPA, Fla. (May 14, 2019) — When you think of music apps like Spotify and Apple Music, you likely picture a millennial listening to music on the go. But one local assisted living and memory care community is changing the way that we see these apps. The Watermark at Trinity, located in Pasco County, is using Spotify to create playlists for their memory care residents as a form of music therapy.
“Memories that are stored with music are stored in a different part of the brain, which can be accessed even as memory loss from Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses,” said Maureen Garvey, CDP, CADDCT, Regional Director of Resident Programming, Watermark Retirement Communities. “So, while a resident may struggle with short-term memory, they can recite a song from their youth and hearing that song can take them back to memories when their mother used to sing it for them or they listened to it with their own kids. This evokes the positive emotions they felt at that time in their life.”
The playlists, which are part of Watermark Retirement Community’s Thrive Through Music program, are personalized based on their taste in music and defining songs from their lifetime such as their wedding song. Spotify also recommends songs to be added to the playlist based on the genre and era of the other songs the resident enjoys. Playlists are created for various moods and activities, including mealtime, exercise and enjoying time outside.
“We had one resident who was challenged during meal times and would wander around the dining room instead of eating,” said David Schupack, Executive Director of The Watermark at Trinity. “We provided Bluetooth headphones to listen to music while she eats and she now sits longer and enjoys her meals. For some residents, having just one stimulus – the music – helps to calm and focus.”
Another resident, who was facing challenges throughout the day, started listening to music from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.
“Now, when she’s feeling any agitation or concern, we put on music from her favorite artists and almost immediately she’s singing and swaying to the music,” said Schupack. “We’ve seen this time and time again where the residents are instantly happier when listening to music that they love.”
Music therapy has long been used as a tool in memory care communities. However, with easy access to a nearly unlimited library of music on apps like Spotify and Apple Music, residents can now listen to personalized playlists that evoke specific music-triggered memories from their lifetime. This approach become more widely known after the 2012 documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory was released, and a clip of a resident being reawakened by his favorite artist – Cab Calloway – went viral.
“Music is a powerful tool and technology has allowed us to leverage it in ways that were not possible before,” said Garvey. “We’re hopeful that one day this disease will be cured, but until then we have these little ways to spark joy in our residents and music is a great way to do that.”
About The Watermark at Trinity
Located in Trinity, Fla., The Watermark at Trinity is a 117-residence retirement community offering assisted living and memory care in the Pasco County suburb of Trinity. Differentiators of the community include certified associates, continuous care and an extraordinary lifestyle built on an abundance of choices. Owned and managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, The Watermark at Trinity is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. To learn more visit www.WatermarkCommunities.com.