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1) What’s Music & Memory?

Music & Memory is a therapeutic program that brings personalized music into the lives of seniors using iPods (mobile music technology devices); thereby improving quality of life.

The Music & Memory program is based on the fact that human brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. For persons suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive challenges, familiar music can trigger well-preserved memories enabling the listener to focus on the present moment and to regain a connection to others. The benefits of this form of therapeutic music intervention have been well-studied and documented, and include mood improvement and enhanced verbal communication and physical activity.

This program was developed in 2006 by Music & Memory℠, an American non-profit organization. Health care centres wishing to offer the Music & Memory program must be certified through Music & Memory℠. To learn more, please visit:
2) Why music?

Music is profoundly linked to personal memories, and can improve mood. Favourite music or beloved songs associated with important personal events can trigger memory and the experience connected to the music. The Music & Memory program is grounded on research demonstrating that music can reduce the agitation of dementia, lessen anxiety, reduce pain, lower blood pressure, help with sleep, and increase cooperation.
3) What is an iPod?

An iPod is a type of mobile technology device that plays an individual’s music. 
4) How does Music & Memory work?
Employees create personalized playlists after having interviewed family members about each resident’s favourite songs and preferred genres of music. Music sessions are scheduled as prescribed by the care team, usually two to three times a week; or as an intervention to decrease agitation, anxiety, and depression, as well as to elicit feelings of wellbeing.
The Music & Memory program is offered through personalized iPods.

5) How was Music & Memory introduced to Eastern Health?

In 2014, Eastern Health successfully introduced the Music & Memory program as pilot project to two long-term care sites, and a third site in early 2015, as follows:

  • Saint Luke’s Homes, St. John’s; 
  • St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, St. John’s; and
  • Harbour Lodge Nursing Home, in Carbonear.

» Learn more on our Pilot Project page.

6) What type of iPod device (or model) does the program use?

The Music & Memory program at Eastern Health is based on the model established by Music & Memory℠. The program prefers iPod shuffles, because they are small and easier to manipulate, but can accommodate other iPod models – new or used.

7) Will all long-term care facilities offer Music & Memory?

The Music & Memory program will be expanded on a site-by-site basis. The end goal is to offer Music & Memory across all long-term care facilities within the Eastern Health region, and through ongoing partnerships, bring personalized iPods to as many residents as possible.
8) Does Music & Memory always work?
Music is not something enjoyed by everyone. As a result, some residents may not respond to therapeutic music intervention.
9) What is the evidence supporting Music & Memory?

Music & Memory’s work is rooted in extensive neuroscience research that shows consistent results. The proven benefits include:
  • Increased attention and cooperation, leading to reduced resistance to care
  • Reduced agitation
  • Enhanced engagement and socialization, which fosters a calmer environment
  • Valuable treatment option for health care providers
A list of current research, outside of Eastern Health, is available on the Music & Memory’s website at:

At Eastern Health, preliminary results from the Music & Memory pilot study (2015) suggest that therapeutic music intervention is successful. During the trial, staff observed residents ‘smile,’ ‘tap their feed,’ ‘clap’ or ‘sing,’ in response to personalized music treatment.

» Learn more on our Benefits page

10) I have an iPod I’d like to donate to this program, what do I do?
The Music & Memory program at Eastern Health is based on the model established by Music & Memory℠. By engaging the community, this program seeks to bring personalized music to residents living in long-term care through used or new iPods.

If you have an iPod you’d like to donate to this program, please drop it off at:

Pleasant View Towers
Main switchboard reception
65 Newfoundland Drive
St. John's, NL  A1A 0L7

Or, if you or a group/business you’re associated with would like to make a cash donation for the purchase of new iPods, headphones, chargers or music cards to the Music and Memory program at Eastern Health, please contact the Health Care Foundation. 

Similarly, you can make in-kind donations of any these items directly to Eastern Health’s Long-Term Care Program, as noted above. However, if a charitable receipt is required, you must provide the Health Care Foundation with a receipt for the item.
Health Care Foundation
71 Goldstone Street, Suite 103

St. John’s, NL A1B 5C3
Office: (709) 777-5901
Toll Free: (877) 737-0228
Donations can also be made online at    
If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us via email at:

» Learn more on our Partnerships page.


Updated Nov 18, 2016