John R. Kasich, Governor
Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., Director


Dec. 15, 2014

Contact: (614) 728-0253

 Ohio brings innovative Music & MemorySM program to state’s nursing homes

National program exemplifies person-centered care approaches state is embracing

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio will use resident protection funds to provide training and support to the state’s nursing homes to implement Music & MemorySM, an innovative, person-centered approach to long-term care that has been linked to reduced antipsychotic drug use and improved care outcomes for patients with dementia.

“We are making an important investment in Ohio’s elders and the professionals and family members who care for and about them,” said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the department. “Music & MemorySM is an example of the types of person-centered care innovation that Ohio has been embracing, not just because it makes good business sense, but also because it has been proven to lead to better outcomes for care recipients and providers alike.”

Music & MemorySM trains nursing home staff, other elder care professionals and family caregivers how to create and provide personalized playlists on digital music players, such as iPods, that enable those struggling with dementia to reconnect to the world through memories triggered by the music they love. The process builds lasting, caring relationships, results in reduced use of medications and improves the care experience for all involved. The principles and practices of Music & MemorySM also hold great potential for Ohio caregivers who care for and ensure the safety of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

“Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Even for people with severe dementia, music can tap deep emotional recall,” added Beverley Laubert, the State Long-term Care Ombudsman. “Beloved music and other recordings often calm chaotic brain activity and enable the listener to focus on the present moment and regain a connection to others.”

The state Controlling Board today approved a request by the Ohio Department of Aging for the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman to use Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funds authorized by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to contract with Music & MemorySM, Inc., to certify participating Ohio nursing homes as Music & MemorySM certified care facilities. The funding will be used to underwrite the costs of training and certification, equip Ohio’s regional long-term care ombudsman programs to support this expansion, and provide start-up kits and supplies for some participating facilities through a vendor certified as a minority business enterprise. No funds will be paid directly to nursing homes.

To receive this assistance, nursing homes must participate in the Music & MemorySM Quality Improvement Project offered by the Department of Aging. State law requires nursing homes to participate in at least one quality improvement project from a list approved by the department every two years. The department will begin accepting applications to the project in January 2015. To learn more about this and other quality improvement projects, visit

To learn more about Music & MemorySM ,visit

Music & MemorySM, Inc., was founded in 2010 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Their Executive Director, Dan Cohen, was the focus of the award-winning documentary “Alive Inside,” which recently exploded on the independent film scene and is now available on home video.

About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We collaborate with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit