SDFMC Launches Phase Two of Music & Memory

The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) is proud to announce being the recipient of a contract award with the South Dakota Department of Health to implement the nationally recognized Music & Memory® program in nursing homes across our state through May 2022.

SDFMC will work with 41 nursing homes across the state to implement the Music & Memory® program into their facilities. Music and Memory is a non-profit organization that aims to use the power of music to improve cognitive and physical conditions in nursing home residents.  One significant measure of the program is to help decrease in the use of antipsychotic medications. 

Many of us have certain songs of our own that magically help us recall personal memories from years gone by. Maybe it’s the song that you used to listen to over and over again with your best friend or maybe it reminds you of your first love.

Favorite music or songs associated with important personal events can trigger memory of lyrics and the experience connected to the music. Beloved music often calms chaotic brain activity and enables the listener to focus on the present moment and regain a connection to others.


SDFMC will work towards training nursing home staff, as well as family caregivers, to create, provide, and manage personalized playlists for residents using digital music players. Each participating nursing home will receive MP3 players, headphones, and iTunes cards at no cost to them for use with their residents. Each facility will have personalized consultation and assistance along the way.

SDFMC has previously worked with 63 other nursing homes to implement the program and has seen prior success.

Comments from past participants include:

  • “One resident cries; when Music & Memory® initiated she began to self-motivate w/c around facility and claps/sings.”  
  • “Younger resident with behaviors was given an iPod with music of his choice. It greatly improved his moods and decreased behaviors affecting others.”
  • “We had one resident who had severe dementia and she was not eating.  After having the music on she was more alert and ate better.  Definitely saw a difference when she listened to the music.”
  • “A resident who normally can be very grumpy told all sorts of stories while listening to the music and even started singing along.  As I left and told him I’d be back again soon, he said, ‘Oh good, I have a reason to stick around.  Something to look forward to.’  To know that it was making a difference and improving his overall mood while helping him reminisce was a great feeling.”
  • “Great engagement by participants. Families have expressed their gratefulness that we are providing this service to their loved ones.”

For more information, please contact Denise Kolba at or 605-310-6792.