Music fills the air at Muncie nursing homes

<p><em>A nursing home resident tries virtual reality. // Photo provided by Mike Gerhard.&nbsp;</em></p>

A nursing home resident tries virtual reality. // Photo provided by Mike Gerhard. 

The saying “Music is the best medicine” rings true to the Ball State students of a group called Music and Memories.

The student volunteers bring iPods to various nursing homes located in Muncie to help bring back memories and relive good times. Residents at the nursing homes would not have access to this kind of technology without student volunteers.

Jack Salzman, a volunteer for Music and Memories loves how it touches each and every one of the residents.

“The excitement of the residents transfers over to me because I know how much us coming in here means to them,” Salzman said.

Dan Cohen, founder of Music and Memories, thought it would be a good idea to play nursing home residents their favorite music, to hopefully spark memories.

Mike Gerhard, a telecommunications professor at Ball State, started the organization at Ball State in 2014. Gerhard has always been passionate about nursing home life.

“My father was in a nursing home here with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, so I know how nursing homes work and this was something tangible I could do,” Gerhard said.

The residents enjoy the students’ company and sing and dance along to the music.

“Most all of them remember certain lyrics of songs they grew up with and it’s the most remarkable thing,” Gerhard said.

The student volunteers of Music and Memories at Ball State go to Muncie nursing homes with iPods in hopes of sparking memories of nursing home residents.

The program has a positive effect on the residents and the student volunteers as well.

Music and Memories volunteers visit the Woodlands Nursing Home in Muncie every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and every Sunday at 1 p.m.


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