Music therapy device helps Alzheimer's patients
BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness month and one Michiana man is hoping his new invention can help keep patients connect to their past and their loved ones.
Zach Gordon, a nurse in Berrien Springs, created a music therapy device that clips to the clothes of Alzheimer's and Dementia patients.
There's only 35 in use right now, but the families of the patients using them want to see more, saying the device dramatically improves the lives of their loved ones.
"He hears Peter, Paul, and Mary, Simon and Garfunkle, and The Eagles," said Claudia Mierau. "Every seven minutes, my voices comes on, and I say, ‘Hi Wayne. It’s Claudia I love you.'”
"Not only did she have music, but ... I’d say ‘Hi mom. It’s Mary Ellen. Mom I’ll be there in a little while or ill see you tomorrow. Love you to the moon and back," said Mary Ellen Plus.
Dorthoy Kesterke and Wayne Kaiser are two strangers from southwest Michigan, but they're connected by the same disease.
"My husband has Alzheimer’s disease," said Mierau.
"It was Dementia," said Plus.
The two also connected by one device called Memesto. Memesto is a portable device uses personal messages and music therapy, a treatment proven to help neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Wayne’s wife, Claudia, says she purchased the product for her husband shortly after it launched this past January.
'It just sounded like something that help my husband’s situation," said Mierau.
Mierau said before Wayne’s diagnosis in January 2012, everyone loved him.
“I don’t think he every had an enemy in his whole entire life," said Mierau. "Everyone that knew Wayne, loved Wayne."
But she says Alzheimer’s changed him.
“I miss his physical presence," said Mierau. "I miss his hugs. We used to hug a lot. We used to laugh a lot. It’s like they’re dying a little bit at a time."
Plus describes her mother, Dorothy, as a strong woman.
"She was a very, very outgoing, very independent lady," said Plus.
Like Wayne, Dorothy’s Dementia diagnosis changed her too.
"She just had real anxiety problems from that," said Plus. "When she went to the nursing home, she wasn’t able to get out of bed for longer than four hours at a time."
Dorothy passed away. Wayne is still alive, but Claudia says he’s in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. So both families understand the disease is incurable, but say in the few months their loved ones used Memesto, it felt like they were back.
"He’s much more talkative when the music is playing," said Mierau. "He’s much more engaged."
"The anxiety just stopped," said Plus. "We noticed immediately.”
The families hope this product can continune to connect people suffering from these diseases.
“I wish it was on everybody that had Alzheimer’s or Dementia," said Plus. "I’m so excited to see where this goes."
For more information on Memesto click here.