Family Donates 57 Ipods To Residents Of Tsiionkwanonhso:te

Seskeha / August 4, 2015


Christie Thompson surrounded by family and friends, holding the donated iPods. Photographs Courtesy of Ian Howe

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Tsiionkwanonhso:te Long-term Care Facility would like to thank the family of Christie Thompson for their generous donation of 57 iPod Shuffles to the residents of Tsiionkwanonhso:te.

The donation was inspired by an online video that was part of a project titled “Music and Memory.” The YouTube clip was presented at a 2012 Spring Workshop “Communicating wit the Cognitively Impaired Using Validation Therapy” sponsored by McMaster University in Hamilton, ON and caught the attention of Tsiionkwanonhso:te’s Activity Director, Teresa David. “Music and Memory” aims to improve the lives of people in nursing homes by using music to stimulate the brain. The viral video, called “Story of Henry”, depicted a man who appears confused and unresponsive, until he is given music. After hearing it, the man, Henry, lights up and is able to have a conversation about the music and himself during his younger years.

David believes this is exactly what residents at Tsiionkwanonhso:te need in order for them to feel less isolated and become more engaged. She stated that she had tried an initiative similar to this project before, but it hadn’t gained much support. However, David remained hopeful that one day people would see the benefits that music had on those who suffered from dementia. The theory was implemented with a Resident, then 89-year-old Christie Thompson, a former pediatric nurse, to see if it would increase conversation and liveliness. When questioned by the activity aide, Thompson asked to keep the headphones on and listen to more music, which was a major improvement for her in terms of communication and engagement.  

The family of Christie Thompson was ecstatic to see such a positive change in their mother and wanted to give back to the Home. The oldest daughter of Thompson, Linda Howe, stated, “We felt honored to be given the opportunity to purchase the iPods for Tsiionkwanonhso:te. [The project] was a success with our mother and we hope it leaves a wonderful legacy in her memory. Our focus, as a family, is to improve the quality of life for those suffering from dementia.”

The entire family played their part in letting this project take flight; Howe’s son, Ian, works for Harris RF Communications in Rochester, NY and was instrumental in the ordering and tracking of the iPods.

Once the iPods are up and running, David plans to have each one etched with room numbers and kept in containers, so they will be able to be utilized by future patients. All personal support workers, nurses and other staff will go through a total of three training sessions where they will learn how to use the iPod effectively and give the patients the most benefit.

Tsiionkwanonhso:te is grateful for the support of Akwesasne and surrounding areas with this initiative. Community members are always welcome and encouraged to visit residents and participate in the planned monthly activities.

If anyone would like more information about this initiative or Tsiionkwanonhso:te, please contact Teresa David at teresa.david@akwesasne.ca or 613-932-1409.