Melody Heals the Forgotten


There are 16 thousand nursing homes in the United States alone. There are 5.6 million people struggling from Alzheimer’s disease. Their memories begin to fade away to the point where they are unable to recognize themselves in the mirror.  Alzheimer’s disease and dementia taunt a growing number of people. Despite the increasing population, many nursing homes are not equipped fully to meet the needs of the patients. Alive Inside, is a heart-touching documentary that speaks about the power of music and how it awakens deeply locked memories.

In the film, a social worker, Dan Cohen, decides to bring iPods to a nursing home. By listening to music, many residents’ memories were brought back when they listened to music from their past. Witnessing this, Dan turns to Dr. Oliver Sacks, one of the most renowned neurologist, and they investigate how music works inside our brains and our daily lives.

Alive Inside concentrates on one man’s journey, but it includes the effect on not only the patient, but also the family, caregiver, and friends is very inspiring. The involvement of music allows the patients to interact with people, relieve stress, and bring back the memories which were thought to have buried deep down.

A 92-year-old patient, Henry Dryer, who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for ten years, experiences the power of music. His memory of his own daughter has disappeared like dust. When a caregiver places a pair of headphones on him, he undergoes a remarkable change. His darkened face suddenly lights up. He sways in his chair, keeping along to the music in his past. When the headphones are moved, he says, “I am crazy about music. I guess Cab Calloway was my number one band guy… Music gives me the feeling of love.”

Through Alive Inside, the audience learns that music can not only bring back memories, but help people with dementia retain new information. Furthermore, it was also revealed that lifelong musical training can prevent people from fast-aging, including memory loss and difficulty hearing speech.

Many conducted scientific studies prove that the music intervention alleviated agitated behaviour elderly people with dementia. Hence, every nursing facility is encouraged to incorporate music therapy in routine activities in order to develop their emotional relaxation, create interactions and reduce further agitated behaviours.

Clips from Alive Inside has furthered my knowledge in the power of music, and how it can affect people’s everyday lives. Its ability to heal people is phenomenal. Music is one of the most precious treasures that should be part of everyone’s life. Many people resort to music whether it is classical, pop, or folk. The society since centuries ago have been dependent on music not just for entertainment, but also for relieving stress.


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