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Dad with Alzheimer’s comes ‘back to life’ when hearing his favorite songs

As soon as he hears music, his feet start tapping and he is up dancing.



By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS

This heart-warming footage shows a dad struck down with devastating dementia springing “back to life” when he hears his favorite songs.

Eddie O’Brien, 74, was diagnosed with the Alzheimer's three years ago after his family noticed he was forgetting names and getting lost on his way home.

The debilitating condition can leave him struggling to verbally communicate with his family.

But when his daughter Rebecca, 30, began playing his old tunes and bought him some headphones, she watched as his mood transformed before her eyes.

As soon as he hears music, his feet start tapping and he is up dancing.

Although the retired decorator is especially fond of Elvis, Rebecca says Eddie is quite happy to bust out his “crazy moves” to any music – from rap to country and western.

And she said its fantastic to see her dad “loving life” despite his disease - and become “so happy” when listening to a thumping beat.

Rebecca, of Warrington, England, said: “It’s just a breath of fresh air to be honest, because it can be so heart-breaking.

“A lot of the time, it makes people become angrier and more agitated and frustrated because they don’t know what’s going on.

“But with my Dad, he just doesn’t seem to care, and I think that’s the best way to be - he’s absolutely loving life now.

“And he just has these crazy moves - you can just tell he’s just so happy, and it just really brings him back to life.”

Rebecca, a senior support worker with the council, began to worry that her dad was suffering from a memory disorder after he was robbed on a night out.

She said: “The two men had stolen £500 out of his bank accounts because he’d kept his pin number in his wallet.

“And another time, he said he had got on the wrong bus home, but he couldn’t remember where it had taken him to.

“And that’s when we started having quite a lot of concerns really.”

Eddie was then diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – a progressive disease that leads to severe memory impairment and a decline in a person’s behavioral and social skills.

And while he later responded well to medication, Rebecca said it was hearing his favorite old songs that really brought him out of his shell.

She said: “My dad’s always liked music, we’ve always got music on in the house.

“And I remember during Covid, me and my dad were in the car and we went to my cousin’s to drop a present off, and I put some of his old music on in the car.

“After, we had a few drinks at home – and my dad was just up jumping and dancing.”

She added: “Then I think it was Father’s Day, I just bought him some headphones to see how he liked them, and he really, really took to them.

“I don’t think my mum was too pleased. She was trying to watch the TV, but my dad was just singing above it. He absolutely loved it.”

Rebecca said Eddie's favorite singer is Elvis, but he is quite happy to bop along to any song with a beat regardless of its genre.

She said: “He absolutely loves Elvis – but any kind of music, any kind of beat, he literally just loves it.”

"One of his favorite Elvis songs is 'Suspicious Minds' but he also loves 'Bad to Me' by Billy J Kramer and 'Peggy Sue' by Buddy Holland.

“He still goes to one of the pubs every Monday between 2:00-7:00 P.M.

“The DJ there messaged me to say he doesn’t have to do his job because my dad gets everyone dancing.

"He said he always used to do 'the stomp’ and he tries to show it to me, but I don’t know what it is!"

Rebecca said there were still days when Eddie’s illness weighed heavily on his family but added that he remained upbeat despite his chronic prognosis.

She said: “I work with vulnerable adults, and a lot of them are elderly and do have Alzheimer’s and dementia so I do know some of the signs and symptoms.

“And there are days when the family does struggle because he repeats himself. He forgets everything.

“But in general, he’s just really happy, and It’s lovely to be around him because he’s just so happy, and he makes me happy – and that’s all I focus on.”

Grace Meadows, campaign director at campaign group Music for Dementia, which calls for people with the illness to have music as an integral part of their care, said: “It’s wonderful to see how Eddie is moved and brought back to life by music.

"Music has the power to create beautiful moments of togetherness, to enliven, stimulate and enable people to express themselves.

"It can help people with Alzheimer’s in so many other ways too, providing a channel through which to manage symptoms of the conditions and emotions.

"It can bring joy when they’re feeling down or create a sense of calm if they’re agitated or anxious, as well as create wonderful, shared experiences with loved ones.

"We hope many other families will be inspired by Rebecca and Eddie’s story and put a personal playlist together to see how music can work for them too.”

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