Alive Inside is a new Sundance Film-Festival-Award-winning documentary about the joy that hearing their favorite music can bring to Alzheimer’s patients The film demonstrates the healing power of music where medication has failed.
Dan Cohen is a gifted social worker whose goal is to have an iPod with a personalized playlist for every patient in America’s 15,000 nursing homes. This is a film about his persistence and his success with a job still in progress.
To watch the faces of these patients “wake up” and smile and to watch their caretakers share in that joy is uplifting. The audience was captivated.
Two years ago, I volunteered at an Alzheimer’s unit. The patients were docile and unresponsive. When one of the caretakers brought out a keyboard and started playing songs from the 40’s and 50’s, I was astonished to see their faces light up as the patients sang along. I didn’t know then what this film has taught me—the part of the brain that processes music continues to function as other parts fail.
We went to a preview of the film at which the filmmaker and Dan answered questions for an appreciative audience.
Please see the film and if you have an iPod you're not using, donate it to Dan at www.musicandmemory.org.
Oh, and while you are at it, you might want to compile a playlist for yourself…just in case.