Remind Music System Helps Alzheimer’s Patients Rekindle Memories

The digital music player and app caters specifically to the needs of Alzheimer’s patients and those who care for them.
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The digital music player and app caters specifically to the needs of Alzheimer’s patients and those who care for them.
Remind app

Photo courtesy of Emily Keller, Miglė Padegimaitė, Lina Trulsson and Darja Wendel

“I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. Every time I hear that song, I remember crossing the finish line for the Boston Marathon in 2011. Mind you, I wasn’t one of the fastest runners to cross the finish line that day — not by a stretch. I was tired, my legs and feet hurt, all I wanted to do was curl into the fetal position somewhere along the marathon route. While it was the seven months of training that got me there, it was listening to this song that pushed me past any doubts I had about crossing the finish line on what’s known here in Boston as “Marathon Monday.”

I would hate to think of a day when hearing that song doesn’t trigger memories of that personal triumph.

That’s what came to mind when I heard about the Remind digital music player and app that helps Alzheimer’s patients rekindle memories about their past. 

Created by Emily Keller, Miglė Padegimaitė, Lina Trulsson and Darja Wendel at the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden, the player caters specifically to the needs of Alzheimer’s patients and those who care for them, according to Fast Company. The Alzheimer’s patient plays music on the device, whose song library is managed through an app by their family or care givers who know the significance of songs through the patient’s life. 

“Since music is strongly linked to emotion, our brains connect music with long-term memory, as long as it’s personal, familiar music,” the designers told Fast Company. “I think there’s a lot of potential to use these melodies and lyrics ingrained deep in the brain to trigger memories.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, studies have shown that music can help reduce agitation and improve behavior issues that occur during the later stages of the disease. Listening to music together can be a great way for Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones to maintain their relationship during a confusing and stressful time.

Approximately 5 million Americans age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease and this number is expected to increase as the U.S. population gets older, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Remind is undergoing testing, so it’s not a product just yet. 

Learn more about the Remind music app by watching the video below:

Editor’s Note: This blog post has been updated to reflect that Miglė Padegimaitė, Lina Trulsson and Darja Wendel also worked on the Remind project with Emily Keller.