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How ‘Beloved Music’ Can Benefit Individuals with Dementia


Episode Description:  

If you’ve ever seen the documentary, “Alive Inside,” a documentary that shows  people with Alzheimer’s responding to personalized music—music that has been deeply meaningful to their lives—you’ve surely been amazed to witness what happens to individuals who are virtually unable to communicate verbally suddenly become animated, able to sing and dance with joy. In today’s episode, you’ll meet Dan Cohen, who was the driving force behind the documentary as the visionary Founder of Music & Memory, a nonprofit that began by providing personalized music to dementia patients in nursing homes via iPods and MP3 players. Since that time, Dan has drawn on a decade of field experience to found Right to Music, broadening his advocacy for “beloved music” as our best non-pharmacological tool to benefit individuals with dementia, Parkinson’s and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as help alleviate loneliness and despair. He’ll describe how his mission has grown to promote the widespread adoption of music-based interventions globally, educating healthcare professionals about the benefits of music; changing government policies to incentivize the use of beneficial music; and shifting the focus of music research to more practical initiatives. When he sees nursing home residents “light up” with their favorite music, Dan questions why can’t everyone, especially our most vulnerable fellow citizens, benefit from music that the rest of us are able to play whenever we want? By spreading access to personal music—a human right—we can make a meaningful change in the status quo, Dan says. There’s nothing to lose, and so much potential for good.

Guest Description:

Dan Cohen, MSW, founder and CEO of Right To Music, advocates for integrating best practice music-based interventions into healthcare, especially long-term care and for all persons with dementia. He founded Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of personalized music to improve the lives of the elderly and infirm. The therapeutic outcomes of his work are portrayed in the Sundance audience award-winning documentary, "Alive Inside.” He has presented at numerous healthcare and dementia caregiver conferences in the U.S. and abroad. Seeking widespread adoption of music-based interventions globally, he is focused on: changing healthcare policy, modifying curriculum of future healthcare professionals, and raising public awareness.

Contact:  dcohen@righttomusic.com

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/righttomusic/

Website: https://righttomusic.com/

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