This summer, a member of the Marching Tar Heels is bringing his love for music to residents of the Carolina Meadows retirement community in Chapel Hill, one playlist at a time.
As an intern with Carolina Meadows’ Music & Memory program, UNC-Chapel Hill junior Turner Medlicott is helping patients with dementia reconnect with the world around them through music.
“Studies have found that people with different forms of dementia are really helped by music to either just calm them or to bring them more into the present or connect with their emotions,” said Medlicott, a psychology major.
Medlicott’s internship is part of the APPLES Service-Learning program based out of the Carolina Center for Public Service. The student-led program pairs Carolina students with community or governmental organizations for a variety of internships in either the spring semester or during the summer.
Medlicott’s primary role is to create personalized playlists that are tailored specifically to a resident’s memories or interests.
“That requires me going in and talking to them and talking to their families about what music they enjoyed dancing to, what they enjoyed singing along to, maybe what they played at the wedding — songs that might have meant a lot to them,” he said.
The time and care he takes to create those playlists has made Medlicott an invaluable member of the Music & Memory team, said Carolina Meadows Volunteer Coordinator Kris O’Keefe.
“We really would not be able to keep it going if it weren’t for the interns from UNC-Chapel Hill,” she said.