Edmond Hospital Uses Music To Help Alzheimer's Patients

Friday, November 20th 2015, 8:49 am
By: News 9

A hospital in Edmond is now certified to use music for Alzheimer's patients.

Evelyn Smith, 96, rarely speaks and often becomes agitated. Her caregivers say this is due to Alzheimer's. Once headphones are on and a familiar gospel tune from the early 1900s blocks all distractions, Smith starts singing and childhood memories come back. 

"I am thankful to god for giving me good strength. I was raised on a farm. We ate the food from the greens," Smith said.

OU Medical Center in Edmond now has a certified "Music and Memory" program. Recreational therapist Lexi Gregg customizes a music library for each patient. Sessions last 30 minutes to an hour a day.

"Part of the brain that senses music is one of the last things to go with the disease," Gregg said.

"I do the music program right before visiting hours and we're seeing patients talking to their families, which is something they may not have done for a year now," Gregg said.

It's not a cure for Alzheimer’s, but it is an improvement to daily life and another memory to cherish. Music can bring on happy memories, and sometimes sad ones, too.

Recreational therapists said caregivers should sit with a patient and talk about their feelings if they become upset when they hear a certain song.