iPod Project

iPod Project

About the program

The iPod project aims to provide a person living with dementia a way to access and experience the benefits of listening to well-loved, meaningful music.

"People who are pretty much immobile become more physically active. People who are not talking become much more talkative. People who are depressed become happier," says Dan Cohen, Founder, musicandmemory.org.

Living with dementia can trigger a range of emotional responses, which may seem out of character for an individual. One of the things we can do to alleviate these feelings is offer personalized music. There is a growing body of evidence showing that music can be used to help connect with and engage a person living with dementia. Listening to personalized music can be a powerful activity for those with dementia. Music has the potential to increase physical and social activity, re-ignite older memories, improve sleep, mood, cognition, communication and overall quality of life.

"(Music) gives me a feeling of love, romance ... beautiful, lovely ... I feel a band of love, of dreams," Henry, Alive Inside documentary.  

The process

Through consultation with the participant and/or their care partner, a personalized playlist is created. If desired, individuals can participate in a collaborative session to create their own playlist and learn more about accessing music online. Once a playlist is created, it is loaded onto an iPod shuffle provide by the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region or personal device. There are no fees to participants. All materials are loaned out at no charge. Feedback on usage is collected at one week and three months from delivery. If the equipment is no longer in use by participants, we ask for it to be returned so others may reap the benefits of this project.

To be eligible, a participant must have a diagnosis of dementia, live in Durham Region, submit a musical preference form and agree to provide feedback on two separate occasions. 

Eligible participants will receive one iPod shuffle loaded with a personalized playlist, a set of over-the-ear headphones, a wall-charging unit, troubleshooting tip sheet and access to in-person tech support.  

Contact us today at 905-576-2567 or email [email protected]. You can download a full copy of our iPod Project brochure here.

We graciously accept donations of new and gently used iPod shuffles (note we do not accept other brands or styles), iTunes gift cards, financial contributions, CDs (on a selective basis), wall chargers and USB cables.


Music and Memory Resources and Research

To learn more about the research behind and the impact of music on dementia, check out the following articles and programs


Last Updated: 02/05/2020