Music Brings Life to Residential Care Homes

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The video “Alive Inside” never ceases to amaze me.  It portrays an elderly nursing home patient with advanced dementia normally has little interaction or words.  Once some of his favorite music is played however, his eyes open wide, starts talking about how much he loves music, and can have a conversation.  The response is inspiring to everyone and, as a neurologist, I find it almost beyond belief.  There are also videos of Alzheimer’s patients who have no short term memory but can sing an entire song.  Or just think of yourself; you can probably sing along with the songs you grew up with. 

What is the secret?  Well, similar to emotional events, music activates a different part of our memory.  In other words, it’s filed away differently than regular stuff.  Want more proof?  After a stroke some patients can sing, but not talk.  Why?  I have no idea...welcome to the mysteries of the brain.

Besides finding this information fascinating, I hope it inspires you to share music with your loved ones.  But not your music; it needs to be THEIR music.  See what happens.  

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Michael Nelson MD is the co-founder and CEO of the Memento Care Home Network.  He is a board certified, adult neurologist who is passionate about the care of senior citizens and believes in the benefits of small credentialed care homes.

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