Music and Memory

About Music and Memory

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.

Music and Memory Logo

The organization trains nursing home staff and other elder care professionals, as well as family caregivers, how to create and provide personalized playlists using iPods and related digital audio systems that enable those struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

By providing access and education, and by creating a network of certified Music & Memory elder care facilities, Music & Memory aims to make this form of personalized therapeutic music a standard of care throughout the health care industry.

How Music & Memory Began

Executive Director Dan Cohen founded Music & Memory with a simple idea: Someday, if he ended up in a nursing home, he wanted to be able to listen to his favorite ‘60s music. He’d heard a recent news report about how iPods have grown so popular. Why not bring used iPods as well as new ones into nursing homes, to provide personalized music for residents?

When Dan had his brainstorm in 2006, he discovered that none of the 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S. used iPods for their residents. Drawing on his background in leveraging technology to benefit people who would otherwise have no access, he volunteered at a local nursing home in Greater New York, creating personalized playlists for residents. The program was a hit with residents, staff and families, and became the prototype for a bigger effort.

With funding from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation in 2008, Dan brought 200 iPods to residents of four more New York nursing homes and tested the program on a larger scale. Successful outcomes spurred the creation of Music & Memory as a 501c3 non-profit. Since then, Music & Memory has implemented iPod personalized music programs facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In April 2012, a documentary about this project, Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory, was screened at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. A video clip of Henry, one of the residents reawakened by listening to his Cab Calloway favorites, went viral, garnering more than 7 million views. The resulting outpouring of interest and support for this work has given new life to the possibility of realizing the vision of personalized therapeutic music as a gold standard of elder care.

Simply Music is thrilled to be able to play a role in supporting this project, and contributing to the quality of life of those needing special care.

Watch the video of Henry below.

For more information about Music & Memory, please visit:

Would you like to donate your iPod to Music and Memory?

Thank you for your support! To donate your new or gently-used iPod, please mail it to us in a padded envelope or small box and send it to the following address.

Simply Music
P.O. Box 160663
Sacramento, CA 95826

We’ll wipe clean your iPod of your personal content, restore it to factory settings and send it over to Music and Memory.

Shipping Instructions:

1. Deactivate iPod(s) and turn off power.

2. Place iPod and charger cord in the smallest envelope or box possible with adequate padding. Keep the earbuds. Music and Memory will supply residents with headphones.

3. Seal the package, affix with a mailing label and drop in the mail.