Personalized iPod playlists unlocking memories at local senior community

Music program helping residents with Alzheimer's disease

SAN ANTONIO – According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 5 million Americans living with the disorder.

Though there is no cure, there are treatments that can help with symptoms and memory loss, including a special iPod program at Franklin Park TPC Parkway.

The senior living community provides iPods to its residents, filling them with specialized playlists created by their families. Playlists include songs from their young adult years, ages 18 to 25.

"We want to make sure that we give them the music that really triggers the emotions we want to manifest," said Jaime Soto, executive director of Franklin Park TPC Parkway. "We want them to be happy. We want them to be relaxed. It's about the quality of life, and that's what we're focused on. How do we improve the quality of life? We do it through music with our residents here."

Soto said the right music can put residents in the right mood and increase their focus while decreasing agitation.

For resident Pauline Coker and her husband, Larry, the program has been beneficial in helping them bond and connect.

"It provides something for her to do that she enjoys doing, and that pleases me as well," Larry said. "And when I try to help her with the puzzles, we can do the job together."

The Alzheimer's Association estimates an increase in Alzheimer's cases in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation continues to reach age 65 and beyond.

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