Alzheimer's & Dementia
For 10 years Tom had been lost to dementia. So severe were his levels of aggression, anger, frustration, anxiety and depression that his doctor wrote in his notes that he would be lucky if any Care Home would have him. When Tom’s daughter finally managed to secure a place in a Care Home, the only way he could remain there was by being constantly sedated. This was extremely distressing and resulted in him deteriorating rapidly. He lost a lot of weight sleeping sometimes 20 hours at a time. Almost every time his daughters visited, they would witness him requesting for someone to kill him.
Tom’s daughter Ann knew she was losing her father and it was heartbreaking. As a last resort, she contacted me to see if BrainHeart Music could help. What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.
In the first administering of my music, which lasted less than 15 minutes, Tom turned the air blue with expletives, profanities and barely controlled rage. So much so that one of his daughters requested that the music be stopped. She felt that it was distressing her father too much.
Thankfully, my instinct was to persevere, which was supported by Tom’s other daughter, Ann. After only 10 minutes of music a sudden, inexplicable and clearly observable transformation took place. All anger and rage within Tom vanished. His body physically relaxed, his breathing eased and his eyes reflected an inner calm. We were all quite in shock at what we had just witnessed. It was literally like a pressure cooker letting off 10 years of pent up emotion in one short burst.
BrainHeart Music was then continuously played 24 hours a day in Tom’s room.
Within 7 days his whole demeanour had changed. He was smiling, welcoming others into his room and even walked arm-in-arm with the staff nurse down the corridor. Up until that time, he did not even leave his room. A senior staff nurse then spoke with me and relayed that in her 25 years of working with people with Dementia she had never before witnessed anyone’s condition improving. She found Tom’s transformation, on one hand, wonderful yet, on the other, challenging to her belief system. It was only when my music was removed and Tom’s aggression and anger rapidly returned, that this same staff nurse discovered that despite all attempts by her to soothe Tom using other “calming” music, nothing worked. He very quickly spiralled downwards and required sedation again. When BrainHeart Music was re-introduced to Tom’s room, within 20 minutes his serenity was observed to return. He began eating again and for the first time in 5 years he showed affection towards his daughter Ann and he even remembered his grandchildren.
It was only after a couple of more visits to administer additional music and after connecting more deeply with Tom, did I begin to fully understand and appreciate the reason why he had developed Dementia. I felt inspired to help this man unburden himself from years of unresolved emotional pain from the loss of his dear wife, who also had dementia.
I returned home and composed, for the first time, what I now call Prescriptive Music. Melodies specifically tailored to Tom flowed through me and I prepared them on a special CD like a musical prescription.
After the very first listen to this special prescriptive music, Tom turned to his daughters and with tears flowing he said, “I lost myself. But now I love myself”.
The Brain-Heart Connection
It’s this experience with Tom which allowed me to witness for the first time how my music could enable a person to re-connect with their innermost self and reconcile unresolved emotions.
It became apparent to me that for this to have happened in an individual whose condition of dementia prevented him remembering or articulating, a high level of coherence must have been re-established within his mind.
It is this state of physiological “coherence” that I believe my music is somehow enabling.
We have two main centres within the human body, the BRAIN and the HEART. We have been led to believe that they operate separately from one another. We think with our Brain and we feel with our Heart.
Our education system encourages us from a very young age to develop the left-brain faculties of reason, logic and analysis in the hope that we may grow up acquiring knowledge and be able to carry out tasks necessary for employment. Our right-brain development is oftentimes less valued yet is equally important. It houses our creative, intuitive and artistic potentials and is the foundation for inspirational living.
Imagine if we could harness the full powers of both the Brain and the Heart simultaneously. Imagine for a moment how different our lives would be if we could THINK and FEEL at the same time. How different would our decisions be? How more expansive would our perception of life be? How much more empathic and compassionate would be become?
I feel as if you’re already answering these questions as you read these words. It’s obvious, isn’t it?
We would all benefit from THINKING and FEELING before deciding and choosing to act.
This is the basis upon which I have embarked on this adventure and exploration of music and its potential to enhance our health and well-being.