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“Music & Memory” Program for Seniors

YWCA Bethlehem is proud to announce that its Adult Day Services Center (ADSC) has become a Music & Memory Certified Care Organization. Grounded in extensive research, Music & Memory helps people living with a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed joy in life through musical favorites.  Funded through a generous grant from the Northampton County Medical Society Alliance, the ADSC can now offer the powerful benefits of personalized music as part of its continuing effort to provide the highest quality care for seniors living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and other cognitive and developmental challenges.

The YWCA’s staff completed the Music & Memory training program in July.  Staff members learned how to develop personalized playlists and assess client responses to ensure a meaningful and enjoyable experience for the seniors, many of whom have limited communication skills.  The music is delivered through iPods, a key element in implementing the Music & Memory program.  Regular access to personalized music has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, moderate pain, increase socialization, and decrease the reliance on anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and pain medications.

Employees of Hovus, Inc. donated 10 iPods and 10 headphones in December 2016 as part of a holiday giving campaign.  Since then ADSC Director Sabrina Keim has been working toward implementing the Music & Memory program to enrich daily life for the 32 seniors currently enrolled at the YWCA’s ADSC on Adler Place in Hanover Township. Now that the staff is fully trained to deliver the Music & Memory program, YWCA volunteers are helping develop a music library that spans across decades of popular music and an array of genres.  “Whether someone has a deep connection to gospel music or still gets excited when they hear their favorite Beatles songs, our goal is to develop a music library that has something for each of our program members,” explains Keim.

Now that the day center has become certified, YWCA Bethlehem is partnering with ArtsQuest to host an iPod drive during Musikfest.   Festival goers can bring their used iPods to a donation box near the ticket counter at the ArtsQuest Center at the SteelStacks from August 4 through 13.  Some iPods will be used at the YWCA’s ADSC, and some will be shared with other nursing homes and senior centers in need of therapeutic programming.  Cash donations and iTunes gift cards will also be graciously accepted and help the YWCA expand their digital music collection.  Questions about the Music & Memory initiative and volunteer opportunities at the YWCA Adult Day Services Center can be directed to Sabrina Keim.

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