Memories light the corners of my mind

Remember Henry? In December 2013, I wrote a post about playing the piano for people with dementia, and how music awakens them. In that post, I mentioned the documentary Alive Inside and included the clip featuring Henry. Here’s how he responded when given an iPod loaded with personalized music selections:

Give people the music they loved in their youth and they come alive. That’s how powerful music is.

Dr. Peter Davies, whose research led to the development of Aricept, a drug used to improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s, appears in the film and makes this surprising endorsement:

“I’ve spent 38 years working on Alzheimer’s disease and I haven’t done anything for patients that’s as effective as the music therapy is.”

Alive Inside won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. It’s now available on Netflix and Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett is working on a follow-up documentary, Alive Inside 2.

And Rossato-Bennett has another project: He has created a headphone he calls the “Memory Player.”

As he explains:

“… Making Alive Inside I saw too many elders living at home, lonely, and living without the connection and music that could awaken their souls. It made me very sad.

I felt their great loneliness and wanted to help and that is why I invented the Memory Player, the only high-quality, inexpensive all-in-one player that two people can listen to at the same time.”

The wireless headphones come pre-loaded with music from the Alive Inside soundtrack, but any music can be transferred from a computer to the micro SD card inserted into the headphones. They’re designed to be comfortable even on ears wearing hearing aids.

You can buy the Memory Player headphone ($29.99) here.

With the help of sponsors and donors, Rossato-Bennett gives away the headphones to people with Alzheimer’s disease who live alone and do not have the means to purchase them.

Please consider joining his “empathy revolution” by making a $25 donation to cover the cost of a Memory Player for someone living at home with dementia. You can do so here:

And spread the word about this wonderful project.

Paulette Bochnig Sharkey

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This entry was posted in Aging, Dementia, Music and emotion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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