BY MIRIAM RINN
There are currently five million people in the U.S. with dementia, and that number is sure to grow rapidly as the baby-boom generation ages. Fifty percent of people in nursing homes--many of them with dementia--never get visitors. That’s a ton of people who are the real living dead, shells of the individuals they formerly were. This sobering situation undergirds Music & Memory, an individualized-music project started by social worker Dan Cohen and explored in the wonderful and inspiring documentary film “Alive Inside.” A Documentary Audience Award winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, “Alive Inside” focuses on several men and women with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and shows in the most dramatic fashion how listening to the music they loved when they were young renews their memories and gives them more joy than any other therapy.