Movie explores healing power of music

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) is proud to partner with Shawnee State University and Hill View Retirement Center in Portsmouth for a special showing of “Alive Inside,” an award-winning documentary that explores the healing power of music for people with dementia.

The documentary is by Michael Rossato-Bennett and explores the power that music can have to revitalize individuals through the experience of listening to music. The film follows Dan Cohen, the founder and executive director of Music & MemorySM, a program which uses custom playlists on digital music players to reconnect people with dementia to the world around them. The film won the 2014 Sundance Audience Award.

Music & MemorySM is an example of the type of person-centered innovation that Ohio is embracing, and its principles and practices hold tremendous potential for older Ohioans and their caregivers. Community involvement is crucial and volunteers can offer much help in terms of donating equipment and sharing their time enjoying music with nursing home residents.

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The Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman are helping nursing homes across the state become certified to offer Music & MemorySM to their residents. Locally, our AAA7 Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is the contact for this exciting venture.

The local showing of Alive Inside will be from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8 at the Flohr Lecture Hall in Clark Memorial Library at Shawnee State University, located at 940 Second St. in Portsmouth.

Following the documentary, a panel discussion will take place. In addition, the Shawnee State University Occupational Therapy program will host an iPod drive in conjunction with the screening. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this special event to witness the healing power of music.

To learn more about Music & MemorySM in Ohio, log on to Or, you can contact the AAA7 Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Department at 1-800-582-7277 or For more information about the iPod drive, please contact Dr. Chris Raber at Shawnee State University at (740) 351-3530 or


Pamela K. Matura is the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7.