Sound Minds, a therapeutic music program launched by First Congregational Church of Akron (First Church) for dementia patients in local memory care facilities, is looking for volunteers.
An information and training session, free and open to the public, will take place at the church (292 E. Market St.) Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. Attendees must bring a pair of earbuds or headphones to the training. To RSVP, contact the First Church office at (330) 253-5109.
Sound Minds volunteers visit patients in local area nursing homes. At the homes, the volunteers use MP3 players and headphones. The patients listen to a personalized selection of music that carries meaning for them, and the music helps provide stimulation, often prompting them to sing or talk, or open up to answering questions about the memories with a particular song.
Music has the power to soothe those who suffer from Sundowner’s Syndrome, according to First Church officials, who add that when Sundowner’s Syndrome is present in facilities, people get agitated, anxious and fearful in the evening.
According to First Church member Susan Babb, who leads this program with her husband Bernie Babb, “We are all touched to our core by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Virtually all of us have experienced this in our lives through a parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse or friend. We all understand, or will, the devastation of this horrible disease, but music helps. Music gives us the ability to prolong awareness and elicit joy that would not otherwise be experienced.”
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. In its early stages, memory loss is mild. In late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s studies have shown that music, and associated memories, are often preserved because key brain areas are linked to musical memory.
For info, visit www.akronfcc.org or call (330) 253-5109.