Alzheimer’s is an irreversible brain disease that has no cure. It slowly destroys memory and thinking skills to the point that it interferes with a person’s daily life and eventually causes them to lose their identity.
Experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and the number of cases of dementia is estimated to double by 2030 and at least triple by 2050 as life expectancy improves.
Current treatments aim to temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life, but many nursing homes aren’t equipped to fully meet the needs of residents with Alzheimer’s.
A new documentary, Alive Inside, investigates the power music has to awaken deeply locked memories and bring personalities back life.
Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett follows social worker Dan Cohen as he brings an iPod into a nursing home and finds that it revitalizes Alzheimer’s patients when they listen to music from their past.
The film encourages widespread adoption of personalised music programs in nursing homes and outpatient therapy in homes because this kind of low-cost treatment could help not only patients but also the more than 15 million Americans who provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s or forms of dementia.
Here is a rough cut from the film in which Henry, who is “normally mute and unable to answer the simplest yes or no questions,” is invigorated to the point of rattling off his favourite singers and busting out in song. (The amazing transformation started around the 2:00 minute mark.)
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