DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — You may not consider 86-year-old Elizabeth Wallace your typical iPod user, but the Mercy Center Nursing Unit resident and her husband, Frank, may appreciate the mp3 player more than just about anybody. That’s because of the positive impact it’s had on Frank’s wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. “My wife hasn’t spoken for over four years,” he said.
Enter Misericordia University and the nationwide Music & Memory Program. Students Amy Viti and Juls Munda gave Elizabeth — or Jane as she likes to be called — an iPod in late April filled with some of her favorite singers and songs. The students noticed a change. Ms. Viti said, “We saw her making some eye contact, some nodding her head a little bit.”
What Frank described in the days that followed seemed like a miracle. “I said to her, you’re listening to (Engelbert) Humperdinck aren’t you? She nodded her head yes and she said ‘yep’. A simple, one syllable word made my day, believe me. To hear her voice again.”
Ms. Munda said she has witnessed Elizabeth’s progress since receiving the iPod. “Trying to sing along and nodding her head and moving her arms.” Ms. Viti added, “Definitely fueled the fire to want to continue this with even more patients.”
Elizabeth is the first resident at Mercy Center to participate in the Music & Memory program through Misericordia University. Since then a second resident has been added and a third one is being prepped. As for Frank’s wife of nearly 66 years, the program has awakened something inside her. “This iPod is a blessing, really,” said Frank.
Misericordia University is collecting iPods, headphones, iTunes gift cards and monetary donations to expand the “Music & Memory” effort. You can learn more about it by calling 570-674-1876 or by emailing Laurie Brogan at lbrogan@misericordia.edu