Transforming Person-Centered Care Through Technology

For many years, Jewish Senior Life has been a leader in providing quality care and person-centered care to our residents. Person-centered care is an approach to care that respects and values the uniqueness of the individual. We continue to seek to improve quality of care and quality of life for our residents and elders in our community that ultimately lead to a more satisfying life.

Jewish Senior Life is proud to be the first certified care community in the Rochester area to offer the Music & Memory? program.  To become certified, a team of 16 professionals from Jewish Senior Life attended a series of three 90-minute webinars, taught by Music & Memory founding Executive Director Dan Cohen, MSW enabling our team to create a facility-ready iTunes library, efficiently manage many individual playlists, handle equipment and security concerns, integrate personalized digital music into daily care plans, and evaluate the program’s effectiveness.  Those professionals, in addition to their “real” jobs are known throughout the organization as JSL Memory Care Coaches, an instrumental role created to ensure the program’s sustainability.


Music & Memory helps people find renewed meaning in their lives and connection to their memories through music. They can communicate and express themselves through their emotions and feelings.

Music is a popular recreational activity and has the capacity to transform quality of life for individuals struggling with a wide range of physical and cognitive impairments. Residents are given an iPod with a personalized playlist which provides a wonderful tool for those who are unable to verbally express themselves due to their diminishing abilities. With personalized playlists, residents can have some of their most powerful nostalgic moments back in their lives.

Music & Memory was officially introduced to residents at JSL in early December 2014. Since then, there have been many success stories. To see the pleasure and enjoyment on the faces of our residents as they listen to their own personalized music brings excitement to everyone who made this program a possibility. Seeing hands lifted, as if conducting music, feet tapping, and hearing voices as they sing along with the music indicates a positive experience is happening.

“We have seen remarkable success with the Music & Memory program,” said Susan Price, JSL’s Person-Centered Care Program Manager.  An Italian speaking resident was anxious about going out for a dental appointment. The staff proceeded to use the iPod with a playlist of Italian music created just for her. Hearing her music calmed her mood and allowed them to more easily get her to go to her appointment. “When she listens to her music, her mood changes and she is happier and content,” says Susan. “The staff enjoys seeing her singing and dancing as she enjoys her music.”


For further information about Music & Memory or person-centered care, visit or contact Sue Price, JSL Person-Centered Care Manager, at or 585-784-6492.

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