How Music Mends Memory

A new film delves into the world of the aging mind and finds that music — the music of our elders’ youth — can help bridge the gap between remembering and not.

The new documentary, Alive Inside, shows elders — some with advanced Alzheimer’s — coming back into themselves when they hear the music from their younger years, be it swing, country, ballads or be-bob. Think of your own experience, when a song can trigger powerful emotions and memories of loves and lives gone by. For me, even 10 years after my oldest sister’s death, popular Motown songs would cause me to tear up. Those lyrics were the soundtrack of my sister’s life when she was a teenager in the early days of soul music in Detroit. Just as it does for us, we see in the documentary how the seniors will light up as they hear and remember familiar songs.

The documentary, by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, follows social worker Dan Cohen,  founder of the non-profit organization Music & Memory, as he uses music to help people with memory loss recover some of that past.  Winner of the prestigious Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the film is being shown this summer in a few select cities. Find out where by clicking this link. 

Check out the trailer here.

Author: Retha Hill

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