In our journalism class, we had the opportunity to watch a documentary called “Alive Inside.” This documentary follows the journey that Dan Cohen, a social worker, took to provide elderly people, who had developed dementia, with music. The patients were given their favorite, personalized playlists which allowed them to regain their memories and their identities for a short period of time. It also documents a select few patient’s reactions to receiving their music. For example Henry, a 94 year old Alzheimer’s patient, lit up when he was given an iPod
We learned a lot of new information from this documentary. For example, the fact that music has not only been used but proven effective in bringing back a patient’s memories. This alone is amazing. We also discovered how difficult getting music to patients really is. It’s not as simple as saying the word and every patient in every nursing home has their own iPod. It’s a long, expensive process that Dan Cohen and many others are working on. There are also many people who don’t believe in the practice. Also, we discovered that antipsychotic drugs are overused in nursing homes, when they’re not necessary. This is only creating a greater problem when we could be solving it with music.
The organization that this is through is called the Alive Inside Foundation (AIF). It is a non-profit organization started by Dan Cohen to promote the use of music players with patient specific playlists to improve the lives of elders regardless of their mental or physical health. They hope to change the way that growing older is seen in our culture, form a connection between young people and their elders, support the use of music to help patients with their emotions and memories (especially those who have Dementia), and to help reduce the overuse of antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients. The foundation is located in New York, New York. To contact them or learn more about them, go to their website at www.aliveinside.org or you can email them at Info@AliveInside.Org.
--Kara Kelso, Whitnee Guthrie, Jaedyn Wagner, & Haley Robinson