Jun 10, 2012

Memories and Music

Emotional memories are very well preserved in Alzheimer’s Disease – love, affection, etc., so songs that carry those emotional memories are best retained.

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Here is an amazing video of Henry. In this video, watch as Henry opens his eyes, and we can see that there is definitely “more there”. NO WONDER over 850,000 people have marveled at this video! As you watch this video, keep in mind that Henry had been almost mute.






At Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, New York, 100 residents are being given a wonderful gift. They are being provided with a chance to let music bring them joy.

According to neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks music can “organize and bring a sense of identity to many people who are out of it, and bring them back into it!” Dr. Sacks tells us that the effects of the music do not stop when the music stops.

Dr. Connie Tomaino, expert in music therapy, confirms what we, on the ARR, know:

“Emotional memories are very well preserved in Alzheimer’s Disease – love, affection, etc., so songs that carry those emotional memories are best retained . . . Chaotic brain activity diminish as a song holds their attention. It pulls everything together in the moment, enabling the person to be more themselves.”

Realizing all of this, Dan Cohen, a social worker on Long Island, decided to make iPod playlists specifically tailored for patients in nursing facilities. This special program is described in more detail in the Advancing Care Newsletter of the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

This is a wonderful program of Music and Memory. I am very proud that one of my friends, Naomi Eisenberger, founder of  TheGoodPeopleFund, is helping to support this program.

I am also very pleased that the right puzzles can also bring about similar positive reactions among Alzheimer’s patients by tapping into their emotional memory, and that PuzzlesToRemember has been able to ship puzzles to the Cobble Hill Health Center.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room