Music to Sooth the Aging with Room 217

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One of the earliest groups to encourage music for palliative care was the foundation,  Room 217.  Initially, I believe it began to provide comfort to the dying, especially last stages.  They found it very beneficial during that time since the music would help sooth and bring a peacefulness.

Extending its reach, it has now been proven to reach Alzheimer’s and dementia patients as well.   Their music is specific, slow and comforting, but they have a wide variety of tunes for dementia and for children as well.

I’ve seen it personally at Mom’s facility, though not with the music from Room 217.  The goal is to have an iPod with sturdy headphones for each resident.  The smiles that brighten their faces are a sweet surprise.  The music seems to bring instant smiles.

Since the iPods use headsets, it may help even those that are hard of hearing.  An added bonus I’ve seen is that it helps reduce the sound of others in the living area.  You can read more about the iPod here.

The benefits are broad:

  • Security
  • Relaxation
  • Comfort
  • Promotes Sleep
  • A sense of wellbeing
  • Distraction from an outburst
  • Spiritual closeness
  • Engagement, more awareness and clarity
  • Revives some memories

You can see how wonderful many of the benefits would be to an Alzheimer’s patient.  The sense of well being alone would make it worthwhile.

Room 217’s Beginning

Since it first began in 2005,  Room 217 has helped thousands find peace. The Room 217 Foundation was formed in 2008 as a not-for-profit corporation.   in 2009 it was registered as a Canadian charity. They have produced their own music in a wide variety or sounds and forms that are available to order through their website.  The music is designed to relax, the recordings made at 60 beats per minute which lines up with a heart rate.  It’s slow, not music to energize.  If you have been near a person when they are dying, you will understand the benefit of that.  Overstimulation can be upsetting and anxiety producing at that time.  It’s used in hospitals, care facilities, even day care and rehab centers, so it is clearly not only for end-of-life.
Want to donate?

Foundation is one group that caught on to music therapy early on and has taken it to so many other settings.  If you are interested in learning more, or helping in any way, you can find them here:

I have to share this video once again.  It’s so inspiring to watch this man. You can see the value of music clearly when you see his reaction.

I urge you to watch the brief video below to see just how much effect music can have on someone with Alzheimer’s.  After seeing that, it becomes clear how many different situations music might be used on others as well.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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