“Drifting on a melody… Ain’t no place I’d rather be, than with you.” When Mr. Washington, a 71-year-old US Army veteran from Waco, TX heard these lyrics from The Isley Brothers, it instantly took him back to a simpler time, when he and his wife would spend Sunday’s in the park, eating snow cones and talking about their future lives together. Today, Mr. Washington suffers from dementia, but for that brief 5-minute period that those lyrics drifted from the speakers, it was as if he was transferred back to his youth, and all was right with the world. Music therapy is one of the most effective forms of dementia and Alzheimer treatment in healthcare. The Music & Memory Organization is a non-profit organization that provides iPods to senior citizens in order to “vastly improve their quality of life.” They are most famous for the viral YouTube clip of a man named Henry who barely spoke but upon listening to music from his era, erupted with life. So how does this happen? Why does music somehow reignite a person’s learning ability, communication, and overall happiness? According to Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, “music affects so many parts of the brain that it touches areas that may not be damaged by the disease and brings those pathways to the forefront.” When this happens, it is as if a light switch is turned on, and an “awakening” occurs. Synapses and pathways that were once thought to be lost are suddenly rediscovered. In senior living communities, residents are often encouraged to engage in musical activities and more social interaction. These patients are therefore happier, have fewer behavioral issues as well as have reduced usage of anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication. They also show improved energy, increase cognition skills and higher self-esteem. Sometimes seniors who suffer from dementia or other mental health issues have trouble communicating thoughts or expressing their feelings. This often times leads to perceived behavioral issues, which may not be the case. Music has the ability to act as a key that unlocks memories and helps these seniors be able to engage and recall what may have been previously lost. For most people music is not only important, it is essential. During every key moment or memory in life there is usually music associated with it. The song that a mother sings to their young child; Or the first song that a husband and wife dance to at their wedding. These things are embedded in our memory banks forever, and often lead us back to a happier time or specific moment. No matter what, whenever I hear “Never Too Much” from Luther Vandross, or “As” by Stevie Wonder, it takes me back to Saturday mornings, cleaning the house with my mother and sisters. Dancing and singing the whole day away without a care in the world. As we age, these moments become even more essential and necessary for our mental, emotional and physical well-being. These are the moments and memories that we draw to when times become difficult and life becomes stressful. This is even more critical for our senior citizens, as they are already dealing with the natural decline of their health due to age. So, for people like Mr. Washington, music is not only something to listen to and enjoy, it is the bridge to a once-forgotten life.