Peninsula Villages

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Donation highlights miracle of music in assisting those with memory loss

Peninsula Villages residents living with dementia will benefit from a new music therapy program thanks to the donation of 50 new Memory Player headsets aimed at stimulating memory through sound.

The donation is part of a joint community service project of the Rotary Clubs of Woy Woy and Umina Beach in association with Peninsula Villages, with the delivery of the headsets coinciding with Dementia Action Week from 21 to 27 September.

The therapy program will see the memory card in each headset loaded with personalised songs chosen by the resident or their family.

Research shows that playing music that has a connection to persons living with dementia, such as a piece of music from their wedding or a song they used to sing to their children, can tap into powerful memories and emotions.

Chief Executive Officer, Shane Neaves is delighted to accept this generous donation and Peninsula Villages looks forward to incorporating this new therapy into their residents’ wellbeing program.

“Dementia currently affects close to half a million Australians, with that number set to double in the next 25 years,” explained Shane.

“It’s been documented that music accesses different parts of the brain than language, so when a resident uses these headsets, it becomes possible to communicate or engage with them even if they no longer speak or respond to other people’s words.

“It is our role to support people living with dementia to live well for as long as possible – and offering our special care residents various therapies allows us to find the best way to do that,” he continued.

While the idea is quite simple, the benefits to the person with dementia and their loved ones include improved mood and social interaction, reduced isolation and increased ease in movement – sometimes even dance.

“We are excited to see the positive impact that this therapy will have for those experiencing memory loss who live in the Village,” said Shane.

“Within the aged care community, stories have been shared about the use of these headsets being able to change somebody’s mood and reduce the need for anti-psychotic drugs – it’s wonderful to think we are able to lessen any distress our residents might feel through this simple action.”

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The headset initiative started at The Rotary Club of Geraldton-Greenough last December, with the influx of positive feedback and success stories quickly encouraging The Rotary Club to consider rolling the project out nationally.

“The true impact on Peninsula Villages residents is yet to be seen as its still in its infancy; but the fact a person need only put the headset on and take it off to enjoy benefits makes them accessible to even those who don’t have movement, which is very exciting,” said Shane.

 “The headsets are a cost effective and powerful way to improve quality of life for residents living with dementia – we are thankful to Rotary Clubs of Woy Woy and Umina Beach for donating these invaluable resources to promote our residents’ wellbeing,” he added.

Peninsula Villages accepted the generous headset donation from the Rotary Clubs of Woy Woy and Umina Beach at a special dinner event on Tuesday 22 September.