Spending time inside a nursing home and meeting the people who live there can be an emotionally difficult experience, but it’s valuable. Doing so opens the door to a conversation about how we think about aging in general; about what we think makes a life worth living. Music can be at the heart of a life worth living.
We’re not going to see music in the lives of every old person until we change who we are. We’re going to have to confront our own fear of aging and our own fear of death. If we do that, we can build a society where nursing home means “nurturing” home. Where people go there to grow and live and love and laugh and listen to good music.
Dr. Bill Thomas, Alive Inside
Millions of people watched the YouTube video of Henry, a nursing home resident, literally “come alive inside” after listening to some of his favorite music. An excerpt from the documentary Alive Inside by filmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, the viral video was an instant internet sensation. The documentary follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, who decides on a whim to bring an ipod to a nursing home. To his and the staff’s surprise, many residents living with dementia and other forms of memory loss seemed to “awaken” when listening to music from their era. Dan then turned to renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks and aging and longevity expert Dr. Bill Thomas to investigate the mysterious way music functions in our brains and contributes to a life worth living.
You can help Michael complete the documentary Alive Inside and bring it to a broader audience by contributing to his KickStarter page here.