With more than 5 million people in nursing homes in our country and over 10 million people caring for them, wouldn’t it be next to a miracle if those with dementia and Alzheimer’s were given a way to enjoy life again? Actually, there is. It’s a simple and proven concept: when listless, uncommunicative and depressed people are given digital music devices (similar to an Ipod) to listen to music that they have loved in their life, they literally come alive. They become animated. Their eyes sparkle. They smile, sing and dance. They are able to remember things.

This is what Music & Memory is all about. This incredible organization is single-handedly changing the world. What started with founder and executive director Dan Cohen working with residents in nursing homes has crescendoed into a movement worldwide.

Dan and his team brought the emotional and moving Sundance Film Festival hit movie Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory┬áto a screening at Denver’s Sie Film Center on Monday. Guests got to watch the transformation of patients who could literally do nothing but stare at the floor into smiling, singing, happy people who remember even things from their childhood, and certainly the happy times in their lives. All by putting a pair of earphones on and playing a list of songs they have loved in their life.

Dan and his team have tirelessly pounded the pavement all over the country to convince nursing homes and home care administrators to give this gift of life to their residents. It’s not easy. Doctors in the film say that they can prescribe thousands of dollars for bandaid medications, but medical plans do not cover, nor do they recognize, music as a catalyst for happiness. Film clips of transformations of elderly people have gone viral and this has helped awareness and advocacy.

You can learn more about this miracle. Log on to www.musicandmemory.org for tons of information about the program and research about how music literally lights up the brain. Oh, and it’s a good idea to create your own playlist. You never know when you’ll need it.