Saturday, September 29, 2012

Introducing Soundbytes for Seniors


Ask anyone who works at MYA or another non-profit organization: perhaps the most rewarding thing about what we do is that we are provided unique opportunities to impact the lives of the people in our community in a powerfully positive way. 

I am very excited to share one of these opportunities with you today; but first, a story from Kat Jasieniecki, an Occupational Therapist and wife of MYA’s Director of Marketing and Communication, Carl Jasieniecki:

 “A patient with Alzheimer's was extremely rude and combative (through little fault of his own) unless he was talking about his late wife, or something reminded him of her. They had run out of things to talk about until one of the techs brought an iPad and guessed about what sort of music the patient would have listened to in the 1930's. He chose a song from a popular musical and the patient stopped yelling, calmed down immediately, and asked "how'd you get that song on the calculator like that?!? My wife and I used to sing that all the time!" And from that point forward, the patient would always be calmed down before therapy (which lead to more improvement) with the song played from the one iPad they had there, even if someone had to be summoned from across the building to provide it. When the patient was being discharged and sent home, he was saddened that he didn't have a way to play the song, and asked repeatedly "well, how am I going to play the song though? What will I do??”

The impact of music on patients with Alzheimer’s has been well documented. If you have the chance, I highly recommend watching this clip which shows a patient who begins slumped over and unresponsive and becomes energetic and enlivened when he hears his favorite song.

Midwest Young Artists is proud to introduce Soundbytes for Seniors.  Through early January, we will collect used iPods, headphones, chargers and speakers that we can load with familiar music and directly give to Alzheimer's patients.  We are working closely with the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Illinois as well as ManorCare Health Services on this project, and we need your help!

If you have any items to contribute to our drive, please fill out a donation form and bring your item(s) to the lobby on weekends or the MYA office during the week. We will have a station set up to accept all donations. In addition, we will need student and parent volunteers for projects including iPod cleaning and charging, care package assembly and delivery, and serving at a donation booth at our concerts on October 28 and December 28. A signup sheet for these tasks is posted on our Volunteer page accessed from the Members page of our website.

Thank you for your support! Your generosity will provide joy to so many people.

Submitted by Ben Rusch, MYA Volunteer Coordinator

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