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Nursing home program music to CMA’s ears

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As the Canadian Medical Association continues its quest to have Canada create a National Seniors Strategy to help meet its demographic challenges, small steps are being taken across the country to deal with these issues.

For instance, the number of Canadians dealing with dementia is expected to rise by 70 percent by 2030. How can the country cope with such an increase?

A co-operative effort linking the Grove Nursing Home in Arnprior, Ont., with the public library in this Eastern Ontario community provides one example of steps that can be taken. Library staff, inspired by the movie Alive Inside — it promotes the use of music to counter the impact of dementia — not only launched a community fund-raising effort to provide iPods for all 60 of the nursing home’s residents, but they also provided every resident with a personal playlist. The project also involved local high school students, who loaded the iPods with music and delivered them to residents. The goal was to provide residents with songs and music “that connect them with memories of an earlier time.”

Tracey McCormick, who is responsible for the Grove’s adult day program, is impressed with the results: “I have seen first-hand the impact of how an iPod can transport a resident to a place where they can manage pain or connect back with their memories.”

So is CMA President Dr. Granger Avery. “What I love about this program is the effort to bring together the nursing home, library staff and high school students to help improve life for the nursing home residents,” he said. “It’s an example of what can be accomplished when there is a will to act.”