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Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory


Registered User
May 21, 2014
This is a documentary about a music programme for dementia patients in the US.
I managed to catch it during a one-day release at Picturehouses.

I actually have a headache from crying now. It's really astounding that a US physician can prescribe $1000 worth of anti-psychotics but not an iPod playlist for $40. The transformation was amazing. People's faces lit up, they laughed, cried, clapped, sang, danced and remembered... And all with a little music. I don't know how the US and UK system differ in this respect. I would say music therapy for dementia patients is recognised here and Singing for the Brain by the Alzheimer's Society is incredibly popular. I doubt that every care home resident has access to an iPod though!

If you didn't manage to catch this one-day release, the whole thing is on YouTube:
94 year old Henry will bowl you over.


Registered User
May 10, 2010
Thanks for the link Beate, a deeply moving film. Henry was amazing, he truly did become 'alive', became himself.

If only all care homes switched off the TV more often and put on some music.... No one looks at the TV, but you see responses to music. My Henry loves it, he has no recognisable speech now and cannot moved his feet but his hands and arms are going ten to the dozen!

Loo x


Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
Mum's care home has been doing this for a while, they can't afford ipods but have got hold of portable cd players and are finding the specially chosen music is having a soothing effect for quite a few people. We are looking at trying to help them fund it further. mum can still sing though she can't really speak so it seems like a good way to help.
the manager of the care home mum is in should have an obe for his attempts to make life better for dementia sufferers and their carers.


Registered User
Aug 6, 2015
Music and dementia

I have recently been part of a project where professional musicians, after training,go into care homes and hospitals and play for the ladies and gentlemen.We also encourage them to sing along or play percussion with our help or helped by the carers in the room.I am so amazed to see people respond to our instruments and to the music we play.We don't force music upon people and anyone is free not to join in if they don't feel like it.We've found that Scots songs go down well and a bit of lighter music too eg Edelweiss, Love me Tender, Summertime,Stranger on the Shore to name a few.Some patients can react by simply moving a finger or singing, humming, even dancing.It's not always familiar music as we have played classical duets too.I suppose it's partly the enjoyment of hearing unfamiliar instruments.I found it a very moving experience and I know the other musicians did too.