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Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 2:18:44 PM

KAKE TV Channel 10 – Susan Peters

WICHITA — Alzheimer’s caregivers are calling it a miracle.

Kansas Nursing Homes are asking for it.

“It” is not a drug. It’s a new therapy for people with Alzheimer’s that’s only available in New York and Wichita. All it takes is an iPod.

Wichitan Dave Roth, now a musician in New York, saw a documentary entitled “Alive Inside.” It won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary chronicles one social worker’s discovery about how an iPod can “awaken” Alzheimer’s patients from their comatose-like state.

The iPods are loaded with personalized music from the patient’s teenage and early adult years, because it’s the music brains are most attached to.

Roth brought the program to Wichita to test it on his mother, along with the help of his sister. He says they’re both astonished.

“She could be sitting there in a chair, almost in a comatose look for her and you put the headphones on her and her eyes change,” says Nancy Kersenbrock speaking of her mother Nathalee Roth. “The whole awakening thing….you can see her awaken.” Her brother goes one step further.

“My mother at the time had four words she could say. She had a language of four words” says Dave Roth. “I put the iPod on her for the first time and she started singing lyrics with me.”

Together with the local Alzheimer’s Association, Roth has now brought the “Music and Memories” program to Wichita…the second city in the nation.

Nadine Rogers, at Comfort Care Homes in Wichita, suffers from severe dementia. Her daughter, Beverly Crowe, says she has been almost unresponsive for months. We went with the Alzheimer’s Association as they put headphones on Nadine for the first time. Her iPods was programmed with music from the 40s that Nadine and her late husband used to dance to. Her smile was immediate.

“I am very surprised,” said her daughter Beverly. “She has not done that in three months.” Nadine began to tap her feet, and even moved her head to the music. She even starts to talk.

The director at Comfort Care, Doug Stark immediately got tears in his eyes. “She hasn’t smiled in three months. It’s magical.”

The local Alzheimer’s Association would love to receive your donation of old iPods, CDs, and iTunes cards. If you would like to help, call 316-267-7333 or 1-800-272-3900.

Bill Warren has agreed to a public showing of the documentary “Alive Inside” at the East Warren Theatre. A donation to the Alzheimer’s Association gets you in on November 20th. Attendees wanting to buy tickets need to go to the Warren Theatres ticket vendor at: www.movietickets.com/pre_purchase.asp?movie_id=135196&house_id=8217&showdate=13

KAKE TV BROADCAST: http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/Music–Memories-Alzheimers-Therapy-281877521.html

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Testimonials

I will always be grateful for the founder’s presentation to Downtown Wichita Kiwanis 20 years ago. His (Charles Stark) comments stayed with me, making the choice of care providers easy for me. Smaller really is better. I am familiar with several “retirement” communities and “memory care” services. Very few match the quality of care provided my ComfortCare Homes. Thank you.

- Barrick Wilson

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