Music & Memory Student Volunteer Program

WI Music and Memory

Student Volunteer Program

The Wisconsin student volunteer program began as a pilot in January 2016 with the participation of 36 nursing homes newly certified through the Music & Memory program.

The pilot program connects high school and college students with volunteer opportunities at local nursing homes through direct outreach to the schools and coordination with each nursing home.

The goals of the program is to benefit the residents at the nursing homes in the following ways:

  • Increased access to personalized music.
  • Companionship.
  • Enhanced engagement and socialization opportunities.
  • Variety in daily routine.
  • Reduced reliance on antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medication.
  • Reduced agitation and “sun-downing.”
  • An improved quality of life.

The goals of the program will be achieved by:

  • Providing awareness of dementia, as well as tools and resources, to reduce stigma through exposure to the Brain Health Mini-Unit curriculum.
  • Establishing intergenerational volunteer opportunities with high school and college students.
  • Reducing the program implementation time through the use of the tech skills of the volunteers.
  • Increasing the access to personalized music through the incorporation of volunteers.
  • Exposing students to a non-pharmacological, personalized tool, which is effective in the care of those with dementia.

The program has one full-time employee dedicated to student outreach and coordination with each nursing home. This staff member is a point of contact for the nursing home and works with the nursing home staff to establish a strong foundation for a successful program. Best practices, lessons learned, and technical support is provided as well as coordination with the student volunteers to ensure all volunteer protocols are adhered to.

In 2017, with funding from the Civil Money Penalty Program, the Student Volunteer program was expanded to all Wisconsin Music & Memory Certified Program. Also Wisconsin HOSA selected the Music & Memory program for their State Service Project. For more information refer to the Wisconsin HOSA Service Project brochure (PDF).

This partnership brings an intergenerational approach to personalized music for our elders with increased joy and engagement.

Last Revised: December 3, 2019