The healing power of music isn’t just anecdotal — and Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization that uses personalized music playlists to help improve the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, is dedicated to helping patients through the power of song.
Along with enabling patients to find renewed meaning and connection by giving them access to music, the organization’s work has been effective at reducing the use of anti-psychotic medications and helping manage the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, according to a Brown University study.
To celebrate Giving Tuesday and the organization’s fundraising efforts to provide music and joy to patients nationwide, Music & Memory’s founder Dan Cohen shares a playlist featuring several of the most popular songs from their facilities around the world, including nostalgic favorites from Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, along with several international selections.
The Supremes, “Stop! In the Name of Love”
According to the San Francisco VA Medical Center, this 1965 hit tends to be one that people remember from high school and that makes them happy.
Frank Sinatra, “Theme From New York, New York”
Requested by almost every nursing home in Delaware, this classic brings joy to many, improving mood and behaviors.
Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog”
Wisconsin and Texas report Elvis’ belting out this song inspires movement in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Nat “King” Cole, “Unforgettable”
One of many Nat “King” Cole favorites for those growing up in the ‘50s.
One of the most powerful and recognizable songs for patients with dementia. We’ve observed deeper breathing, relaxed muscles and an overall sense of peace.
From Australia: “Waltzing Matilda”
The unofficial national anthem of Australia, written by poet Banjo Paterson, even has its own day.
From England: “We’ll Meet Again”
No song better symbolizes the heartbreak and optimism of Britain plunged into conflict.
From Ireland: “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”
Made famous by the tenor John McCormack, this song romanticized Ireland and became a familiar standard for generations.
From Israel: Naomi Shemer, “Jerusalem of Gold”
A song that inspired a generation after the Western Wall returned to Jewish hands during the Six Day War. For many elders, this modern-day miracle was a lifetime peak.
From the Netherlands: Wim Sonneveld, “Het Dorp”