Gerontology Club Donates $3,000 to Local Music for Memories Programs
Windsor, Ontario - Several local long-term care facilities benefited from the fundraising efforts of St. Clair College's Social Service Worker Gerontology Club.

Students raised $3,000 for the Music for Memories programs at Extendicare Tecumseh, Extendicare Southwood Lakes and Country Village Home – Woodslee. The program helps those suffering from Alzheimers's, Dementia and other illnesses by using iPods and Mp3 players for music therapy to help strengthen the mind and help memories last.

Gerontology Club member Aimee Pinsonneault said she has seen firsthand the positive effects of the program on patients and was happy to be able to fund it.

Lara Hristoff of Extendicare Southwood Lakes, Tom Wilson of Extendicare Tecumseh and Shelley Alewick of Country Village Homes – Woodslee (centre) hold up donated cheques presented by student Tim Noble (left), St. Clair Chair of Community Studies Jim Hutton, Social Service Worker Gerontology Coordinator Alice Barron, and students Kristen Miranda, Jessica Kiteley, Lisa Nelson and Aimee Pinsonneault.
Lara Hristoff of Extendicare Southwood Lakes, Tom Wilson of Extendicare Tecumseh and Shelley Alewick of Country Village Homes – Woodslee (centre) hold up donated cheques presented by student Tim Noble (left), St. Clair Chair of Community Studies Jim Hutton, Social Service Worker Gerontology Coordinator Alice Barron, and students Kristen Miranda, Jessica Kiteley, Lisa Nelson and Aimee Pinsonneault.

"I personally made a playlist for a patient and it helped her so much," said Pinsonneault, who just graduated from the St. Clair's Social Service Worker Gerontology program. She explained that music really helps patients with behavioural issues. "At a certain point in the day, they noticed this specific patient would have a certain behavior, so they would lay her in her chair and I put on her headphones and we got to see her reaction to the music, which was smiling, moving her hands and feet and she started talking about her past. It was an amazing experience. It touched my heart."

Pinsonneault, said the Music for Memories program improves quality of life for patients, something Tom Wilson of Extendicare Tecumseh can attest to.

"Music plays a role in everyone's life. People get enjoyment out of music, and that's a great thing," said Wilson. "This is phenomenal that these students reached out to us and partnered with us and fundraised for this program."

Each of the three selected facilities was given $1,000 to put towards their Music for Memories program.

Wilson, along with Lara Hristoff from Extendicare Southwood Lakes and Shelley Alewick from Country Village Homes – Woodslee, attended Windsor's South Campus Wednesday to accept the donations.

"For them to be able to identify that there's this need in the long-term care homes in our community is amazing," said Hristoff.

"Music is the universal language," said Alewick. "This program helps so many people in so many ways."

Tim Noble, another student and member of the Social Service Worker Gerontology Club, said through the Music for Memories program, patients are able to bring back memories and share those experiences with loved ones.

"If you put their favourite music on, they'll start listening to that era and then all of a sudden they'll start talking about memories associated with that music," said Noble. "Music triggers memories. And music also helps calm the brain and helps patients focus more, even just with day to day tasks."

Noble said it feels great to be able to give back to the community and support such a great cause.

"When you can help someone get in touch with their past and allow their family to reconnect with them, that's a really, really good feeling," said Noble.