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Alive Inside, Discovering the "Feeling of Love" | KFP Articles
Alive Inside, Discovering the "Feeling of Love" PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 September 2015 15:49

At times, when I would visit my friend it was as though he was not there.  I would ask to my self, "who is this person?"  Where did that friend go that now when I visit with him I can't connect.  The experience of connecting with a loved one with dementia can be trying, takes effort when at times we don't want the effort, we want that friend or family member that was always there for us.  We want to see our loved ones share the same joy and interest in life they once had.   Over time I learned that connecting takes more than effort, it takes time and patience.  There are experiences, some short lived others longer and more frequent, that when tied together with our memory bring back that person for us, and for them.   

When visiting my mother, which is something I have less time and opportunity to do these days, connecting to her is hard.  Often it is through loving words or very simple gestures, and sometimes only through simple care giving actions.  What I have ignored, for some reason, is the effect that music has on her.  The staff at her home have pushed this, playing her favorite music for her and watching her come alive.  Recently, I was introduced to a video that has helped me realize the impact of music on memory and affection.  The movie Alive Inside is a brilliant documentary having received an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.  It presents the reality of the relationship between music and memory in the most beautiful way.  Here is brief summary of the movie:

This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks

When forced to deal with such a poor situation, connecting to a friend or family member with dementia, it forces out any shallow aspects of human relationships and brings in a focus on the person, that person's affections and spirit  The below excerpt is a very powerful and moving scene about Henry, a resident in a skilled nursing home.  I've not met anyone not moved by this scene.  Listen to what he says at the end, wise and wonderful.

 


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