New DHS program uses music to combat Alzheimers

100 Wisconsin nursing homes are certified to assist residents in the Wisconsin Music and Memory Initiative

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that 100 nursing homes around the state have been certified to take part in a new project that uses personalized music to assist residents with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.

The Wisconsin Music and Memory Initiative is part of a national program developed to train nursing home staff to create personalized music playlists.

Providers say the program has an uplifting effect that improves the spirits of patients and allows them to be responsive, cooperative and engaged with family, friends, staff and other community members.

By listening to their favorite songs, residents are able to recall memories that haven't been lost to their disease.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades said the power of music is priceless.

"We are gratified that so many of the nursing homes across the state want to participate in what we believe is a landmark program in the treatment of people with dementia," said Rhoades.

The department plans to expand the Music and Memory Initiative this spring to include an additional 135 nursing homes.

For additional information about the DHS Music and Memory Initiative, go to

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