DailyBeast Op-Ed: Treat Dementia With Music, Not Drugs

July 23, 2014
Dr. Bill Thomas, ChangingAging.org

Yesterday The Daily Beast published an op-ed I wrote about the extraordinary power of music to transform the lives of people living with dementia.

The concept is elegantly simple: Provide a dementia sufferer with an MP3 player that has been loaded with music tailored to their taste. Let them listen. Ask them about it.

I was privileged to be part of an extraordinary film, Alive Inside by Michael Rossato-Bennett, that documented the small miracles as life re-ignites in the eyes of long-term dementia sufferers when they hear familiar tunes for the first time in years. You can watch Alive Inside in select theaters this summer and on DVD and iTunes this October. Visit www.aliveinside.us for a calendar of theatrical showings in cities nationwide. You won’t be sorry. In fact, you just might change a life.

1 Comment. Leave new

Joan Baird, PharmD, CGP, FASCP
August 1, 2014 2:52 pm

After reading this article last week, I knew I had to see the movie “Alive Inside.” As a senior care consultant pharmacist who has reviewed thousands of resident charts in Maryland nursing facilities, and in my current position as Director of Pharmacy Practice at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, I am very aware of the medication issues discussed in this movie. But this project hit me on another level as well. My undergraduate degree is in music education, and I also have years of experience in teaching others about the joys music can bring into our lives. So often these days, we hear of music and other arts programs being cut from school systems in a misguided effort to save money. As such, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that long term care facilities may be resistant to providing residents with MP3 players and headphones. This movie will definitely help people understand the profoundly healing powers of music. I’m only one person, but between my musician colleagues and my pharmacist colleagues, and my ASCP colleagues, I will do all I can to ensure everyone sees this important and affirming movie. I honestly think I could watch it every day and not grow tired of seeing those happy and ALIVE faces.

Thanks for the opportunity to share,
Joan Baird, B. Mus., PharmD, CGP, FASCP

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