Alive Inside is another captivating movie about a subject that regularly touches our practice as estate planners: dementia. This documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music and Memory, as he chronicles the reactions of memory-loss patients being reintroduced to their favorite music through the use of iPods.

The responses of the patients are startling; captured on film, they make a strong case for the ability of music to combat memory loss and restore a feeling of living to those lost in the fog of dementia. The result is a powerful movie that has inspired further medical study in this area. It has also mesmerized countless viewers, winning the Audience Award for U.S. Documentaries at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The emotional pull of this film alone was enough to make me want to share it with you. But, I was also curious about whether others agreed with Mr. Cohen and whether there was any research to support this type of music therapy. The answer to both questions is yes.

This article, provided by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, gives specific examples of how loved ones and caregivers can use music therapy to help patients in all stages of dementia. Likewise, Music and Memory provides an extensive list of scholarly articles supporting the film’s central thesis.

Alive Inside does a superb job of illustrating an inexpensive and effective tool used to help improve the quality of life for anyone who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Pick up the movie today, be moved, and let the music begin!

Image courtesy of dan /

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