Alzheimer's music and memory

Posted on: 16 April 2013 by Gareth Hargreaves

How the power of music can help unlock memories and help people escape the isolation of dementia.

It is projected that by 2021 there will be more than one million people with dementia in the UK and in spite of government assurances there has, so far, been no solution to the issue of funding long-term care or dementia support for families affected by the condition.

In view of this unwillingness to plan for an increase in the number of dementia cases or find the means to guarantee a decent quality of life for those affected, it seems inevitable that the burden of care is going to fall on family members.

As the symptoms of dementia advance the less you see of the person you love; their character and personality seem to slowly disappear. But that is the illness not the person. However, a new film by Michael Rossato-Bennett aims to break the negative perception of dementia and prove that deeply locked memories can be reawakened through the use of personalised music.

Alive Inside follows care worker, Dan Cohen, who encourages his staff to use iPods and other Mp3 devices to help dementia and Alzheimer's patients reconnect with their surroundings and memories. The contrasts in behaviour are remarkable and moving and illustrate the way we associate particular pieces of music with our past.

Given the current challenges and financial constraints faced by care givers and service providers, this kind of grass roots initiative shows that there are alternatives to costly 'chemical restraint' treatments and that as difficult as it is to see at times, there are still personalities and characters locked away behind the symptoms of this disease.

Alive Inside focuses on one man’s journey, but it raises many deep questions about what it means to still be Alive Inside. It questions when we stop being human, and what it takes to re-start a life that has faded away. It asks questions about how we see our elderly, and how we are going to treat an epidemic of these degenerative diseases.


External links

Alive Inside - Take Action

Music & Memory

*Alzheimer's Society Dementia 2012

Share with friends

Do you agree with this Article? Agree 0% Disagree 0%
You need to be signed in to rate.

Loading comments...Loader