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Lowville nursing home gives the gift of music $4,000 GRANT: Facility buys iPods, headsets, music downloads personalized for residents

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LOWVILLE — Residents at the Lewis County Residential Health Care Facility are benefiting from a recent $4,000 grant for the purchase of iPods, headsets and music downloads.

The clear sound and individualized selections are a huge hit with both residents and staff.

It’s a notable improvement over listening to the radio in a group setting.

“They are using them faster than we can download them,” said Irene F. Williams, activities director.

To create the personal music experience for every user, residents or their family members could request a certain genre of music, or fill out surveys to aid staff in creating an enjoyable music experience.

Resident Carl Fenton had never heard of an iPod before they arrived at the facility. “I didn’t know what she was talking about” when staff first introduced him to the device, he said. “I thought she said pea pod, like in the garden.”

Melinda Hubal, first-floor nurse manager, said they’ve seen an immediate response from those trying out the iPods.

“We’ve noticed residents that don’t talk very much, or are withdrawn, after putting on the headphones they are singing out loud, tapping and smiling,” Ms. Hubal said.

She also said the iPods are useful when residents are restless. “It calms them. It’s soothing,” she said.“Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed them. It takes them to a positive place with good memories.”

Roger Branagan requested 1940s and ’50s country music.

“Oh, wow! That’s nice, that’s really nice,” Mr. Branagan said as soon as the music began playing in his earphones.

The music can be used for more than recreation. Staff is able to use the iPods during therapy, and have reported positive results in that area as well.

The grant allowed the purchase of 50 iPods, 60 headsets and $500 worth of downloaded music.

Additional music has been donated by John Foster, owner of Lone Wolf Entertainment. Mr. Foster has been able to contribute a variety of very old and harder to find songs.

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