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Wellhaven column: Music, turn it on and watch the magic happen

Wellhaven Senior Living plays a lot of music. Some of the tenants play instruments for themselves or other tenants. Submitted photo

Music is an amazing way to trigger memories. Whether memory loss is involved or not, there are certain things a person tends to forget. As a 34-year-old, you wouldn't think that remembering things is a challenge. I don't think it is, but your mind stores a lot more than you realize. Did a song ever come on the radio that had memories of high school flooding in? I know I have. The song can trigger the place I was at, whom I was with, sometimes what we were wearing or even the smell in the air. Music and memory go hand in hand.

There has been extensive neuroscience research done to enable those with dementia and/or memory loss to feel like themselves again. Through the music, memories are resurfaced. It has been proven by the nonprofit company Music and Memory that its participants are happier and more social, relationships among staff, participants and family deepen, and everyone benefits from a calmer, more supportive social environment. If you or someone you know has memory loss of some kind, try getting out those old albums and playing a few songs. There are some amazing examples of people's minds being triggered by music on YouTube. One of my favorites is from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary is called "Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory." If you have access to YouTube, check it out.

At Wellhaven Senior Living we play a lot of music. Some of our tenants play instruments for themselves or other tenants. Music and a smile go a long way. Many of them sing or hum to the tune. There is a program called "Songs for Seniors" brought to our community by Bob Knutson that provides a free record player with speakers for seniors in nursing homes, assisted living apartments and other senior facilities. He has a plethora of records and he routinely switches out the records. Bob says, "Turn it on and watch the magic happen!" When he comes to Wellhaven, the tenants make requests for what he brings next time. Our tenants really enjoy the music he provides. Wellhaven tenants love music and we (the staff) love to see the sparkle in their eyes and the smiles on their faces.

Seniors, we enjoyed seeing many of you at the Senior Pizza Party at Wellhaven. Jen's homemade pizza was a huge success. For those of you who missed the opportunity, the next Senior Pizza Party will be 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 4. Also, Wellhaven hosts bingo on Mondays at 1 p.m. and an exercise class Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. Seniors from the community are welcome to attend. If you have any questions or comments please contact Laura at 715-426-4633 or lbswanson@tlha.org.

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