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Saturday, April 21, 2012

iPods bring new life to old songs

Music & Memory is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving quality of life for the elderly and infirm in an unusual and creative way: by using the distribution of refurbished iPods to bring personalized music opportunities to retirement facilities and nursing home patients. And it's not just about listening to music, the group has found that for many individuals, hearing melodies from the past strengthens connections to memories of people and events from the patients' earlier lives. By using digital technology to bring familiar sounds of decades long gone by, older generations can once again experience life more fully. In an article on, neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks says that "Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience. Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory... Music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can."

In addition to collecting iPods (and iPads) for distribution, Music & Memory also encourages people to set up mp3 players and digital music libraries for elderly friends, relatives, or neighbors who may benefit from the transforming sounds of their past. In an age where younger generations are constantly discarding last year's model for a new iPod touch, smartphone, or tablet/computer, this project seems well poised to put our inherent waste to good use. Not only is there the potential to help the aging members of society, but Music & Memory is also providing new life for something else entirely: technology itself. 

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