July 10, 2014
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

State Health Agency Announces Expansion of its Successful and Popular Music & Memory Program

Program Uses Personalized Music Selections to Help People with Alzheimer's disease and other Dementias

MADISON-Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Kitty Rhoades today announced that the agency has been granted permission by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand the Wisconsin Music & Memory Program to an additional 150 nursing homes around the state by this fall.

"Music & Memory is an exciting program that is proven to help people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, so I am thrilled to be able to say that now even more people with memory problems will have an opportunity to benefit from it," Secretary Rhoades stated.

The Wisconsin Music & Memory Program began in January 2014 with 100 nursing homes around the state becoming certified to create personalized play lists for up to 15 residents at each of the 100 nursing homes. By listening to their favorite songs through personal listing devices, residents are able to recall memories that haven't been lost to the disease. As a part of the program, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are studying the effects the individualized music has on select residents, and if it has an impact on behaviors, or on the use of anti-psychotic or anti-anxiety medications.

MUSIC & MEMORY℠ was created by Dan Cohen, MSW, and is based on thorough neuroscience research. Since its inception, MUSIC & MEMORY℠ has received national recognition, including the prestigious Audience Award from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for the documentary "Alive Inside", which chronicles the effects personalized music has on Henry, a man with Alzheimer's disease. Wisconsin is the first state in the country to develop its own program based on Cohen's program.

In addition to the expansion of the program, the DHS has collaborated with the three Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association chapters to help nursing homes currently certified as MUSIC & MEMORY℠ facilities, expand their program. This will be achieved through the donation of personal listening devices during one of the 38 Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's? events occurring across the state in the Fall of 2014, as well as through donations received at the three chapter offices. The Walk is the world's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research.

"We invite everyone to join us at Walk events around the state to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's disease programs, services, and research," said Tom Hlavacek, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association of Southeast WI. "It's especially exciting that this year's Walk events will also give participants the opportunity to donate something beyond money and time to benefit those who are living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia."

All personal listening devices that are donated will be distributed to the nursing homes participating in the Wisconsin Music & Memory Program. Each nursing home that receives the devices will be responsible for removing previously downloaded materials and sanitizing the devices.

To sign up for the Walk to End Alzheimer's® or to learn more about the Alzheimer's Association visit:

For more information on the Wisconsin Music & Memory Program, visit: