Music Brings Ailing Brains Thrillingly to Life

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From the film 'Alive Inside' From the film "Alive Inside," directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett (Courtesy of Bond 360/Bond 360)

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett talks about his film “Alive Inside,” which looks at the power music has to reawaken memories in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He’s joined by Dan Cohen, founder and executive director of Music & Memory, a non-profit that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly and infirm. “Alive Inside” opens July 18 at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema.



Dan Cohen and Michael Rossato-Bennett

Comments [7]

Claudia from Los Angeles

i say: a jukebox in every nursing home! wonderful interviews and questions this week!

Jul. 22 2014 10:50 PM
Mary Murray RN, Barnabas Health Hospice, NJ from West Orange, NJ

The hospice I work at launched a Music & Memory program last year after hosting Dan and a screening of "Alive Inside" last year. The response by our patients (and their families) has been phenomenal! What a gift during advanced illness to have a link to a time not defined by disease or debility... that is what personalized music brings.

Jul. 22 2014 09:17 PM
Jenny from Hastings

As a musician and caregiver to my mother in law who had Alzheimer's Disease, music was the key to lifting her mood. I loved guessing what she would like, and had success with hymns and well known broadway tunes, where she would often hum in harmony. My biggest surprise came one day while wheeling her around and preparing for a folk concert, I started singing Union Maid to which she became very animated and excited, conducting with her arms in the air. After that I sang it to her many times, wondering why she loved this song so much. After her death we found among her things a journal she kept during her time as a labor activist in the 40's and 50's.

Jul. 22 2014 01:59 PM
Bebe from Queens

I would like to direct the guests and listeners to the Music for Healing and Transition Program. This non-profit educational organization trains music practitioners to play live therapeutic music at the bedside in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices. Each patient receives the most appropriate music based on his or her condition. For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, music practitioners play familiar music from that person's generation. The results are amazing. Recorded music is great in a pinch, but there's nothing like live music to stimulate a response.

Jul. 22 2014 12:58 PM
Tim from Washington Heights

Thanks for doing this work! I run a weekly creative writing workshop for older people at a nursing home. I'm often struck by the power that song lyrics have for them in the pieces they write and read out loud. This is true even for workshop members who have severe hearing loss.

Since some older people have hearing loss, has the experience of listening to music been any different for the adults you've worked with who have hearing loss?

Jul. 22 2014 12:55 PM
Hollis from Brooklyn

I met a woman with Alzheimer's at a nursing facility, who could play any song on the piano, She asks for suggestions, goes over to the piano and plays. It's quite amazing.

Jul. 22 2014 12:51 PM
Gary Book from Port Washington, NY

Great hearing about your success. Art Fagan would be proud of all your good work. Get an iPod with the Beatles, Dylan and Mozart for my future use some day. I wonder if books on tapes would also work. Regards.

Jul. 22 2014 12:51 PM

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