Veterans center starts music therapy program

Updated: Mar. 8, 2016 at 11:13 PM CST
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(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) –If you don't know what to do with that old iPod, you could donate it to the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center.

The veterans center reached out to a non-profit group, Music and Memory, for information on how to start the program in Lawton. The goal is to use music as therapy for residents living with Alzheimer's disease, but they need iPods to make that therapy happen.

As a jump start, the Music and Memory organization provided the center with 10

iPods and headsets, along with gift cards to download music. From there, the center was able to buy more music thanks to a generous donation from a resident's family member.

Administrative program officer Ann Koivu says studies show music is the last memory to go for a person living with Alzheimer's. So, sharing the gift of music therapy is something she is thrilled to offer residents living at the veterans center.

"Music from your teen years, that first love, the dance at your wedding. That's what brings these veterans back into focus, gives them joy and pleasure and calms them down," Koivu said.

That's not the only benefit Koivu says the music therapy has to offer. The music's calming effect on the residents give staff members a chance to get a few of their chores done during their shift. It also brightens the faces of veterans who don't receive company on a regular basis.

"We have a couple that get a little loud and they get upset that nobody's talking to them and it's really made a difference on those residents. It takes away some of their boredom, it occupies their time and they really seem to enjoy it," Koivu said.

Koivu says the veterans center has no budget to fund the program. She says the goal is to provide all 200 residents at the center with their own iPod and headset.

They are still in need of iPods, headsets, and iTunes gift cards. If you want to help, you can drop by the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center anytime with your donation.

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