Henry Loves Music
I love stories about people doing good work, about people being of service to people that can barely be of service to themselves.
This is a story about Henry and millions of others like him. It’s a sad testament to what many of us have to look forward to assuming we have the fortune to live long lives. Or is it the misfortune?
Henry is an Alzhiemers patient. He has been in this nursing home for ten years spending much of it in silence, relegated to his wheelchair and effectively dead to the world around him. He doesn’t recognize family. He doesn’t respond to simple questions. It’s a life I watched my mother getting ready for. Her early stages of the disease were a glimpse of a future I don’t want to see.
It’s a terrible thing to watch someone at one time full of life and energy reduced to a struggle to contend with the most basic aspects of life. It’s insidious and medical science barely understands the mechanisms of the neurological aspects involved.
So getting back to Henry. His caregivers tried everything to communicate. Henry was a shell without reply.
Then one day someone wraps ear phones around his head, pushes the iPod play button, and music from his era begins to play. Almost instantly, Henry lights up. His eyes pop open wide, his body begins to rock side to side, back and forth. He sings in a language that maybe only he understands as the music transports him to another time.
For a moment in time, he’s young again.
Henry’s story is included in a new documentary film about the subject of reaching the unreachable through music. Alive Inside is a wonderful program film about the Music & Memory initiative, designed to bring healing through sound.
They need your help. Give an iPod. I did.