Music for nursing home residents

Caroline Welton next to her piano. “She is a piano player and loves music,” Caroline’s mother says. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY JEANNE WELTON.

By: 
John Pacheco

As an American Heritage Girl (AHG), Caroline Welton has a mission.

She wants to initiate a new program, “Music and Memory,” at the Johnson City LBJ Nursing Home by providing 20 nursing home with a personalized playlist on an iPod, which contains music “that speaks to them.” The idea being that music has beneficial properties for people who suffer from memory issues, and can also help alleviate isolation.

The project involves interviewing 20 of the nursing home residents who are non-responsive and creating individual playlists of music on iPods for each of them. The playlists on the iPods will consist of music that was popular when the nursing home residents were in their 20s. Once donated, the iPods will be maintained by the nursing home and used for future residents as well.

She got the idea for the project from reading the Century News. Amy Jeanne Welton, Caroline’s mother, tells the story, “Here is how your newspaper is connected to this project. Caroline wanted to do a project that reflected her passions, but was having trouble finding anything. She is a piano player and loves music, but there was not any clear community service project tied to music that she could determine. Then she saw this article in your newspaper about a new project being put into place at Hill Country Care, the nursing home in Dripping Springs. The article was about a program called “Music and Memory” and involved providing personalized music on iPods for residents with dementia, to assist them in regaining some memory function. Caroline called Bonnie Gonzalez, your predecessor, who gave her the contact information for the person from Hill Country Care. From there, she learned about the website and movie ‘Alive Inside’ which is a documentary about Dan Price, the man who figured out how much personalized playlists of music which had meaning to the person from when they were young, helped mood, behavior, and reduced the need for medications.”

To make the project a reality, Welton had to complete certification from the LBJ Medical Center, and is now actively raising the funds to complete the project. In addition to taking monetary donations through her YouCaring site (youcaring.com/residentsofthejohnsoncitytexasnursinghome-873686), she is also accepting donations of music CDs (originals, not copies), and iTunes cards.

“Please tell your readers that I would love their help with this project! I need to fund-raise for the iPods and registration fees and such—that's around $3000 total,” Welton said.

For more information, or to donate through a method other than her YouCare.com site, Welton can be reached at dstxtroops@gmail.com .

Welton is a member of AHG Troop TX0522, which is chartered by the Dripping Springs United Methodist Church (DSUMC).

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