Thoughts on satellite radio for Memory Care?

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I've been considering something for a little while. What are your thoughts on paying for a satellite radio subscription for a person in Memory Care? The resident has advanced dementia and is not able to focus on tv or read. She can barely sit up and is really declining. Severe stage Vascular Dementia, possibly mixed with AD. But, she does seem to perk up with some music is played. She has her radio in her room, but, it is in rural area and has poor reception. There are no stations that play her favorite music, 60's, 70's popular and modern country. She has CD's, but, I can't rely on staff to rotate and monitor that. Having a set station of her favorite music without interruption, that I can rotate weekly seems ideal. I am concerned that she might not be in her room that much.


Does anyone think this is a good idea or not. I think that I'll have to purchase a special antenna and have it fixed outside the building, but, that's doable. I estimate the setup at under $100. and then the monthly fee for service under $30.00.


I've even considered donating it to the MC unit, so they can play an oldies station for all in the Activity room for an hour or so a day. I think the other residents would like it too. Has anyone considered this?

17 Comments

Sunny, I've had exactly the same problems with my mom, there is nothing left for her anymore but music and I've run into the same roadblocks you have. I know there are stations she could enjoy available on the cable tv available in the NH common areas, but no one ever tunes in those channels except me. They have iPods available, but when I look for them they always seem to be discharged or gone for maintenance. If I made something available in her room I'm doubtful anyone would turn it on for her, and as you pointed out she is seldom in her room anyway except when she is in bed. I realized this was another of those maddening things that should be simple but isn't, I finally had to bow to the inevitable let it go :(
Oh, I see. It's unfortunate that such great ideas are not feasible. I appreciate your input. I may or may not continue with pursing it with my situation. I'm gong to mention it with the MC unit director and see her reaction.

I was just wondering if people consider it pointless to play music for someone who has severe, advanced dementia. I've always read that music is sort of like something you feel, even if you can't process it, it still effects you spiritually. Not sure about that, but, it may be worth a shot. There are funds to do it, so, we'll see.

I do wonder if one reason that music in the MC is not a priority is that the staff doesn't care for the genre of music that appeals to most of the residents. Just a hunch. Of course, some music is better than none, I suppose. lol
Sunny, it drove me crazy!!! Even the staff directly responsible for activities and rehab seem to be satisfied with what is currently available. Their new behavioural support position is great, but the focus is on those who are more active and present with more troubling behaviours, someone (apparently) semi comatose in a wheelchair isn't even on their radar. The reality is that I might be able to help mom have some music for an hour a week, which is pretty pathetic when you consider she that with hearing and visual deficits she lives in a void other that when in bed or at meals.

Don't give up trying, you may have better luck than I have!
My mom is in SNF not MC but there’s always music playing in the common area..and in the hallway of the unit, it’s not a big unit..
Well, the MC director did provide a nice small table, that fits in my LO's room so that I was able to put her radio/cd player on it. Her nightstand is full of things they need for her care. And, whenever I go in the room, the radio is playing, but, it's set on one of the only local channels that will come through. Due to the rural location, there are literally only 2 stations that will come through and neither are my LO's favorite genre. So, they may be doing the best they can. I'll give them that.

One of the former MC director's used to actually play my LO's favorite movies on a portable DVD player for her, but, my LO is not able to handle that kind of thing anymore. And, they have a different MC director.

But, the point of her not being in her room that many hours per day is a point that I have to consider. Maybe, putting it in the tv room would be a good option. Maybe, we can work out the details.
There are radios/speakers that will play off an SD card. If you could load up one of those with her favorite songs and leave big instructions for the aids on how to start/stop it maybe that would work. Just a warning: I bought a radio like that for my Mom (planning on using it as a radio because her favorite station. does have reception at her AL. The radio interface was not straight forward. I am quite tech savvy and it was difficult for me to figure out. So look for a simple one.
Yeah, I'd have to figure out how to get it set up. Also, I have to figure out who would turn the music on or off. I wonder if my best chance is to suggest that the music be considered part of their activity schedule. They do have one for various hours though out the day. This way, it's a must and not optional. They can pick, 50's music one day for an hour, the next day 60's, next day, 70's, 80's etc. Then, move on to Motown one day, Beatles one day, Elvis, disco, etc. I think it's a good idea. And, I don't see any reason they can't do it.
Good discussion. Before dementia my dad was an 80 yr old hacker. His biggest joy was downloading and storing his favorite, old, obscure hillbilly music and burning cds. He’s in AL now and can hardly operate or talk on a phone.

Music is great for him, but he nor mom, who’s with him in AL, can work the simplest CD player or radio. And staff can’t be expected to wrangle this all day. Maybe iPhone app, remotely control a CD player? I’m kind of a digital idiot. Anyone know how to do this?
Well, even if I could remotely turn on the music, how would I know if she's in the room or not? She might be elsewhere in the unit. And, I may not be available due to work. Plus, I now like my idea about providing a way for all the other residents to enjoy the music. I doubt they get the chance to hear,
Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, Dancing In The Streets, Superstition, Come Together, etc. very often. I might even chip in for some nice speakers, so they have quality sound.
Please watch the wonderful, inspiring, documentary film Alive Inside.
It is about the power of Music Therapy for dementia patients.
Try Music Therapy for your loved one.
Putting the headphones on transforms their mood and stimulates emotions and surprising memories.
Keeping the device charged, headphone use, and music selection will require some assistance, depending on how advanced the dementia.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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