Dead Inside

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What a horrible title for an article.

It’s also a horrible concept, don’t you think?

But many with dementia are dead inside without any means of engaging with others in meaningful conversation.  Heck, they might not even be able to talk to themselves: a practice I engage in quite frequently.

What an isolating state to be in: you’re there, but not there.

My daughter & I outside the Varsity Theatre, Seattle, after viewing the documentary.
My daughter & I outside the Varsity Theatre, Seattle, after viewing the documentary.

Fortunately, those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitively restricting illnesses, have a chance to awaken their memories – and therefore their history – but not without the tools to do so.  Alive Inside, the 2014 Audience Award winner at the Sundance Film Festival, is a one and a quarter hour documentary film that touts the benefits of personalized music therapy for those who are living dead inside.

Dan Cohen, social worker, Founder and Executive Director of Music & Memory, started this awakening project several years ago.  Here is a description of the project, taken from the film’s website: “Music & Memory … promotes the use of digital music players with individualized playlists to improve the quality of life for elders, regardless of their cognitive or physical status … Dan has spent most of his career helping individuals and organizations leverage technology.  Music & Memory operates in hundreds of long term care homes across the U.S. and abroad.”

Watch the 2.15 minute trailer on the provided Alive Inside website to witness a few of the individual awakenings spotlighted in the film.

Even if the film is not scheduled to appear in your area, you are still able to help awaken the millions of people in the United States and abroad by your participation in Mr. Cohen’s project.  Whether it’s feet on the street or a click of a mouse to donate funds, each of you can become a part of these efforts.

Additionally, if you know someone, or are caring for someone with cognitive decline, put together a personalized database of music for that someone in a digital music storage device, then connect them to it with a set of headphones.  You might be able to awaken him or her with that simple effort on your part.

4 thoughts on “Dead Inside

    Welcome to the year 2015! | Baby Boomers and More said:
    January 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    […] October 2012  I’d also like to add two movies to the list: the outstanding documentary Alive Inside about the benefits of personalized music for those with dementia. I’ve linked an article I […]


    Anonymous said:
    September 10, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Good morning…loved the concept and moved by the trailer, thank you…I have a 95 year old Mother who resides in a wonderful assisted living in NJ still able to be in her own little “apartment” but see subtle changes and her slipping into quiet submission by all the changes she has had to realize over the last 6 months…intimidated by electronics of any sort other than the TV remote, what do you recommend I get for her to have her favorite music on and handy? Is the Ipod simple enough to use? To further complicate things she is blind in the right eye and compromised vision in the left with macular degeneration…Having loved music and dancing her whole life I just know this will spark an interest and bring her peaceful joy and memories in the hours she sits in her chair by the sunny window when I am at work and unable to visit. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated…Thank you!


    dementedgirl said:
    August 27, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Many caregivers are dead inside also. I’m one.


      boomer98053 responded:
      August 27, 2014 at 8:19 am

      I hope that you are able to find, and have the time for, a support group. Group participation will feed your soul and at the very least, provide you with a sense of community with those who are going through similar struggles. All groups are free; no charge whatsoever.

      Liked by 1 person

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