Music, however, has been shown to have a unique power to cut through the fog, taking people back to the things they knew.
Nick Harvey, a composer from Sussex, England, recently shared an experience with his father that was a perfect example of musicâ€™s ability to transport those facing the challenges of memory loss.
On a recent visit his father was sitting at the piano when Harvey encouraged him to play one of his own compositions. He appears unsure if he can remember it at first, but after a good-natured push from his son he begins playing his piece â€śWhereâ€™s The Sunshine?â€ť flawlessly.
Dad has dementia. Sometimes he drifts into another world and I feel like Iâ€™m losing him. He is never more present, however, than when he plays the piano.— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 23, 2019
He came to mine today and I asked him to play one of his compositions. He thought he wouldnâ€™t be able to remember it. pic.twitter.com/EQGcXBwB3w
Itâ€™s a bit difficult to hear but it sounds like he says â€śBrings up memoriesâ€ť as he finishes the piece.
It was an emotional scene and it resonated strongly with people.
My grandma loved playing piano. I was very close with her. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimerâ€™s, I started taking piano lessons and Iâ€™d visit her and play and when Iâ€™d hit wrong notes, she would stand over me and show me the right ones. Music is magical. https://t.co/TzCpqaILnp— Michelle Biloon (@biloon) June 24, 2019
The power of music https://t.co/EMFkNzAkMm— mike. (@justmike) June 25, 2019
The moment struck a chord with those who watched it and Harveyâ€™s dad is having a sudden flush of musical fame as a result.
I have popped over to see dad. He is incredibly touched by everyoneâ€™s response and would like me to thank you all on his behalf.— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 24, 2019
BBC South East News will be interviewing dad at his house in fifteen minutes. Heâ€™s practising the piece and I am in tears. pic.twitter.com/ekbAJw6jNj— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 24, 2019
In fact the song has made such a stir that itâ€™s even set to be recorded and sold to benefit the Alzheimerâ€™s Society.
Hi @alzheimerssoc. Of course, feel free to use the video.— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 25, 2019
Iâ€™ve an idea. How about (dad willing) we get him to record his piece on a nice grand in a nice hall with nice string players and then release it as a charity single for you?https://t.co/QW5l7dLM86
After yesterday, I didnâ€™t think things could get much more exciting but @alzheimerssoc are keen to talk about the charity single idea, and (gasp) one of the U.K.â€™s top recording engineers/producers has just tweeted this:https://t.co/8fsp1m8zLN— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 25, 2019