Chillicothe VA and Shawnee State University Receive State Association Award


Jenni Dovyak-Lewis



The Chillicothe VA Medical Center and Shawnee State University’s Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students partnered with the Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (RLTCOP) and the AAA7 Department of Community Services to provide the Music and MemorySM program to Ohio’s veterans, their caregivers, and others with cognitive impairment in home and community-based care settings.

It is a person-centered approach to dementia care that uses custom playlists on digital music players to reconnect people with dementia to the world around them. Although Music and MemorySM has been utilized in residential based care settings for many years, the state of Ohio was the first state to deploy Music and MemorySM in community-based settings with this project serving as one of the most successful in the state.

Music and MemorySM has been shown to help individuals feel happier and more social, build stronger relationships between caregivers and recipients, and may reduce the use of antipsychotic medications. This particular partnership was unique in that it brought together generations of individuals through the help from the college students to veterans of many ages who were able to experience the benefits of the Music and MemorySM program.

The AAA7 partnered with the MOT students to provide on-site training for the staff of the VA Medical Center and selected adult day care and residential care facilities. MOT students provided hands-on demonstrations during the trainings; showing the deployment sites how to conduct individualized music assessments, use an iPod, purchase iTunes, create playlists, and load iPods with individualized music.

The MOT students worked with the various groups/deployment sites to place i-Pods with individualized playlists into the hands of 165 veterans and others with cognitive impairment living in the community over a year and a half in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The program continues to be a part of the Chillicothe VA Medical Center and AAA7 Veteran-Directed and Caregiver Support Programs. Sustainability for the project comes from donations to purchase iPods, headphones and music as needed.

The Chillicothe Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and Shawnee State University in Portsmouth were recently presented with the Outstanding Area Agency on Aging Partnership of the Year Award at the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) Annual Conference that was recently held in Columbus.

The two organizations were nominated by the Area Agency on Aging District 7, which covers ten counties in Southern Ohio including Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.

For more information about the Music and MemorySM program, call the Area Agency on Aging District 7 at 1-800-582-7277 or e-mail info@aaa7.org

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Jenni Dovyak-Lewis

Jenni Dovyak-Lewis

Director of Community Outreach and Training

Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.

Jenni Dovyak-Lewis

Director of Community Outreach and Training

Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.