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Her unique use of unfamiliar melodies opens up different pathways in the brain and provides something unique in comparison to all other programs of music that are used elsewhere. —Teepa Snow
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Back in 5 ’s innovative approach integrating music, photographs, colour and natural sound are designed to create an environmental disruption and an emotional mood shift which can refocus and aid both verbal and non-verbal communication between caregivers and those receiving care.
People with confused brains often use extreme or disturbing behaviours in their efforts to communicate. The anxiety of the daily sundowning periods, the frustration at not being understood and the despair which follows are all emotions trying to communicate.
Back in 5 videos meet the individual where they are in the current moment. And consequently afﬁrm the individual’s feelings in that moment. The artistry of the videos then moves the emotional mood to one of greater peace or levity.
Each expression of brain confusion is as individual as the person who is learning to cope and come to terms with it. Therefore a cookie-cutter approach fails.
Television has provided the background to the lives of all those now facing the various forms of brain confusion. However, some expressions of disease or drug side-effects include hallucinations, paranoia and a ‘thinning of the veil’ between images seen on television and lived reality.
Television is often the last resort of caregivers for whom time is always at a premium. But encouraging someone with dementia to watch tv, thus freeing the caregiver up to do other pressing tasks, can often have longer term negative effects.
Back in 5 provides an alternative to television. The videos are short enough to hold the viewer’s attention but long enough for the caregiver to take a break.
The link between music and memory is well established. Research has shown how powerful music is to our well-being. Music is, in fact, the last memory to go in people with dementia. Emerging research has also indicated that new connections can be made to new music and in some cases new neural networks can be established. For this reason all the music used in Back in 5 videos, and in Luminotions DVD Vol.1, is new music.
New music, accompanied by recognizable images in emotion-laden colours presented in a safe environment on a regular basis, can help to shape new positive memories. And as people with dementia or brain confusion, often become turned around in their sense of time, music cueing can help establish routines. For instance, In A Yellow Garden or Cuban Holiday are designed as ‘waking up’ morning videos whereas Dreams of Blue is a slowing down or nighttime video.
Young people, who may struggle with ways to communicate with grandparents or older relatives can now easily access the videos at Back in 5’s new home on You Tube. The videos can now be played on all devices including phones, pads and laptops. Sharing the videos can give young people a point of focus to raise memories or just share the moment with their grandparent.
Back in 5 ‘s Reﬂections in Time, is different from the other shorter videos as It runs for 37 mins. Reﬂections in Time was initially conceived for use in palliative care, therefore it was designed with a slightly different focus. Arranger and musician Angus Sinclair produced a song scape resembling musical memory which shifts and drifts from hymns to popular songs to classical music. The photographs are seasonal and autumnal and include the ordinary things of life.
Reﬂections in Time has been used successful in an institutional setting as a restorative, calming inﬂuence during the late day confusion which often happens with people during the period beginning around 5 pm to 7 pm. The video actually concludes with the sun going down.
Reﬂections in Time also serves as a virtual getaway for viewers. When watched with a friendly presence (either caregiver, friend or relative) the video, which is also available separately as a DVD, offers opportunities for reﬂection and memory recall.
The DVD Luminotions (Vol.1) also includes Through My Eyes:William Utermohlen. Utermohlen was an American painter living in England who continued to paint a series of selfportraits throughout the initial stages of early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This video was initially produced for staff training purposes. However, we have included it in this package because it provides a unique perspective of the interior landscape of someone experiencing dementia. This is a moving insightful perspective for anyone who is touched by any of the forms of brain confusion. A moving, powerful original score was composed and played for this movie by Michel Allard. Permission has been received to use the Utermohlen portraits for training purposes.