Alive Inside Reveals the Positive Effects of Music Therapy

Alive Inside is a documentary that looks at music’s effect on people with dementia. The documentary, directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, follows Dan Cohen, founding Executive Director of Music & Memory, as he gives iPods to people with dementia and watches them come to life as they connect with the music.

Henry, who receives an iPod from Dan, instantly lights up as soon as he’s got his music on. He becomes more responsive and begins singing and moving to the music. When asked what the music does for him, he responds “It gives me the feeling of love.”

Throughout the film, Cohen demonstrates that this feeling of love is what makes music therapy different from traditional medical approaches to treating dementia. Giving people with dementia iPods with songs they listened to when they were young connects with them on a personal level in a way that prescriptions and pills can’t.

One of the difficult questions brought up during the film is “Who are we without our memory?” It’s hard for most of us to imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t recall our favourite memories or recognize our loved ones. But Alive Inside shows that there are many different ways we can communicate with each other and that it’s time to change the way we think about dementia. Alive Inside is an important reminder that considering the person, not just the disease, can lead to much more positive outcomes.

To learn more about Alive Inside and music therapy visit http://musicandmemory.org/.