Many factors go into a decision about where to place a loved one in a nursing home—compassionate care, excellent medical support, cleanliness, a supportive social environment and affordability are often top of mind.
But a recent survey indicates that access to personalized music has also become a priority for people seeking appropriate long-term care for a relative or themselves.
In October 2014, Software Advice surveyed more than 1500 respondents across the U.S. to learn more about the value of using iPods in long-term care. Key findings:
- Most respondents (83 percent) would favor a nursing home that offered residents iPods with individualize playlists versus a similar nursing home that did not.
- Half of respondents would consider moving outside their city to find a nursing home that offered residents iPods, with 8 percent willing to move out of state.
- More than half of respondents would spend more money on a nursing home that offered residents personalized iPods.
Personalized Music a Strong Draw to Enhance Quality of Life
With person-centered care becoming the new gold standard in long-term care, personalized music provides a simple, cost-effective means to enhance residents’ quality of life. Access to musical favorites ranked high on survey respondents’ lists.
The majority of respondents were either “extremely likely” (29 percent) or “very likely” (24 percent) to favor an iPod-integrated nursing home. In addition, 16 percent reported they would be “moderately likely” to look for a care facility offering personalized music, and 14 percent, “minimally likely.”
Nursing Homes Using iPods Worth a Move or Commute
Distance is not an obstacle to finding a nursing home that offers personalized music. Half those surveyed indicated they would be willing to drive a long distance or even move beyond their city to have access to a long-term care facility offering personalized music—27 percent would be willing to search within their county, 15 percent would look statewide and 8 percent would even be willing to commute or move out of state.
As personalized music in long-term care becomes more widely available, Executive Director Dan Cohen hopes this therapeutic option will become so accessible that no one would need to travel far to find it. Statewide initiatives in Wisconsin, Utah and Ohio to bring MUSIC & MEMORY® into their nursing homes are channeling the iPod-based program into the best practices mainstream.
“This is a very inexpensive way to take advantage of technology that pays off for everybody,” says Cohen. “It pays off for the residents, and as we can see [from Software Advice’s data], it pays off for the nursing homes in terms of attracting families.”
iPod Integration Worth Paying For
Perhaps most striking, more than half the respondents indicated they would be willing to pay more for a long-term care facility that offered musical favorites on iPods.
In particular, 19 percent said they would pay “significantly more” for a nursing home using iPods than one that did not; 13 percent would pay “moderately more”; and 25 percent, “minimally more.”
For long-term care administrators weighing the costs and benefits of implementing a personalized music program, the results present persuasive evidence that the program can offer a distinct marketing advantage to attract more residents.
Maintaining Mental Agility a Top Priority
These findings are consistent with another trend identified in the survey: The majority of those seeking nursing homes favored programs that keep residents mentally engaged. Of the respondents, a total of 84 percent said it was either “extremely,” “very” or “moderately important” to enable older residents to stay mentally agile.
In short, as we age, the survey results suggest that ensuring quality care for the mind as well as the body is becoming a much higher priority for long-term care consumers. Personalized music provides a humane, uplifting and fine-tuned approach to holistic, person-centered care in nursing homes—one well worth pursuing and paying for.
Founded in 2010, MUSIC & MEMORY® is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.