Sparking memories with music and technology

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Mike Walter with Michael Rossato-Bennet and Scott LienFilmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett and GrandPad CEO and Co-Founder Scott Lien talk about sparking memories using music and technology.

Scientific evidence shows music can awaken parts of the brain that have lain dormant for years, even in catatonic patients. So, social worker Dan Cohen decided to volunteer at retirement homes and provide music to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. His findings were astounding.

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett decided to follow Dan for a day and capture his efforts on film. Michael recalls the reaction of one patient who had been unable to verbally communicate.

“I literally had chills going up and down my arms when he was coming alive because of what that mean,” explained Rossato-Bennett.

Sparking memories with music and technology

Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett and grandPad CEO and Co-Founder Scott Lien talk about the effects music can have in sparking memories.

Their one-day expedition would turn into a three-year journey resulting in the award-winning film Alive Inside and a movement to make music part of the standard protocol at nursing homes everywhere.

Scott Lien, CEO and co-founder of grandPad, believes senior-friendly technology could fulfill the void. The grandPad is a tablet designed specifically for older users. Along with viewing family photos and videos, features allow people to make both voice and video calls and create voice emails. It also includes access to a collection of music from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

“They love music, more than our generation. They used to go to the ballroom on Saturday night and go see live music. But, unfortunately, the barriers of technology had made it difficult for many people in their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s to appreciate music,” said Lien.

Michael Rossato-Bennett and Scott Lien joined Mike Walter in our Los Angeles studio to talk more about the effects music can have on sparking memories.