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Man With Dementia Remembers Song He Wrote Years Ago in Viral Video

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Though dementia takes pieces of your memory away over time, one memory tends to stay: music. A video of a man with dementia playing a song on the piano he composed years ago is going viral for its reminder of the power of music for people with dementia.

Composer Nick Harvey, who writes music for TV shows and lives in England, shared a video on Twitter on Sunday of his dad, Paul, playing a song he wrote called “Where’s the Sunshine?”

“Sometimes he drifts into another world and I feel like I’m losing him. He is never more present, however, than when he plays the piano,” Harvey wrote.

Since Paul has dementia, neither he nor Nick were sure if he’d remember the song. But as soon as Paul put his fingers to the keys, the music came to him.

In a follow-up tweet, Harvey explained his dad wrote”Where’s the Sunshine?” in the 1980s when he was the head of music at Imberhorne School in England.

The video has now been viewed more than 2 million times. Since posting the video, Harvey shared on Twitter he is working with the Alzheimer’s Association about possibly recording the song and releasing it as a single for charity.

In an interview with the Press Association, Paul said he didn’t know what to say about all the publicity.

“I’ve got dementia and you just keep going! As long as I’ve got access to my piano, that’s the main thing,” Paul said. “I am very pleased that something I’ve written has had such an effect. It’s come so late in life, it shows that it can happen at any time.”

Music is frequently used as therapy for people with dementia, because the area of the brain involved in music is not affected by dementia as much as other areas of the brain. As Paul demonstrated, people with dementia may remember the tune and lyrics of a song even if they can’t remember information they learned more recently.

Dementia isn’t easy to cope with, and hearing the stories of others who have been there can help you feel less alone. Check out these stories from our Mighty community:

Originally published: June 25, 2019
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