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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week, more than 1,000 socially isolated seniors and adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in Florida are being given the gift of music, thanks to a donation from the Florida Alzheimer’s Association.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs said MP3 players preloaded with the person’s music preference, when possible, are being delivered to caregivers and families of those living with ADRD.

“The music project helps improve engagement between caregivers and their loved ones, and music may help lessen social isolation by allowing people living with dementia to access long-term memories,” said Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom in a news release.

Department of Elder Affairs officials said music may benefit both caregivers and those living with dementia by reducing stress or distress, enhancing their moods and increasing the ability to effectively communicate.

Michelle Branham, vice president of public policy for the Florida region of the Alzheimer’s Association, said that although music can’t slow or prevent cognitive decline, it can help improve quality of life. She said numerous studies have shown that listening to familiar music can reduce anxiety, depression and aggressive behavior.

“We know that music soothes the soul and now, more than ever, older adults may feel overwhelmed and isolated,” Branham said. “We hope these music players bring comfort and a sense of peace to seniors.”