Sound of Music: Local nursing homes reconnecting to memories

Osseo, WI (WEAU) - Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday and The Andrews Sisters are famous artists who may be a thing of the past. But their toe-tapping tunes are providing folks living in local nursing homes a trip down memory lane.

"That's the last thing to go is the music,” said 66-year-old Ramona Krause.

Whether Ramona Krause is outside or inside the Oakridge Nursing Home in Osseo, humming her favorite tunes always brings a smile to her face.

"It brings back even back to my childhood. There was an electric guitar, keyboard, my grandfather would be singing. My grandmother would be on the piano playing,” said Krause.

The memories are coming back, thanks to an iPod shuffle.

"Then you can get the energizer too, ‘Come to through the other side,’ you know,” sang Krause.

15 iPods were given in the past month to Mayo Clinic Health System nursing homes in Barron, Bloomer and Osseo.

"We had some administrative interns that worked at the three sites within the system the nursing homes, and came across this non-profit organization that does music and memory to try and bring out and incorporate music into the daily lives of the residents or individuals with physical disabilities and allow them to connect with the previous memories they had,” said Angela Bulger, Assistant Administrator of Senior Services.

But life hasn't always been full of smiles for Ramona. At the age of 26 she was in a car accident that broke her neck. Yet, she worked hard to gain function back to her body and she had her music.

"I would have my music on and I would have to keep it low, you know because I didn't have any iPods then,” said Krause.

"It really is pulling back all those memories and different activities in their previous time that they hadn't thought about in ages,” said Bulger.

The nursing home staff provides each resident with a personalized playlist and talk to the family to see what they might enjoy.

For Ramona, the sounds of Loretta Lynn or Marvin Gaye are what she remembers.

"It brings you closer together, because my parents are still living. Brings back the good, brings back the bad, but I think the good overpowers the bad,” said Krause.

Each nursing home has only 15 iPod shuffles, so you can donate an iPod shuffle or an iTunes gift card. To donate, contact the Activities Department of the nursing homes in Barron, Bloomer and Osseo.