Elvis fan, 74, with Alzheimer’s ‘comes alive’ when listening to favorite songs

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

The debilitating condition has meant he struggles to verbally communicate with his family – but now his daughter Rebecca, 30, has discovered that music “brings him back to life”.

She started playing some of his favorite songs and watched him whip out his “crazy moves”.

“My father has always liked music, we always have music in the house. I remember me and my dad being in the car during COVID and we went to my cousin’s house to drop off a present and I put some of his old music on in the car,” Rebecca told the South West News Service.

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

Eddie loves to dance to everything from rap to country, but he’s especially excited to jam to his favorite oldies — especially anything Elvis Presley.

“He absolutely loves Elvis, but any type of music, any type of beat, he just literally loves it,” Rebecca said, noting that one of his favorite Presley tunes — the one featuring the new biopic “Elvis” starring Austin Butler — is ” Suspicious Minds” by the King of Rock and Roll.

Eddie O'Brien smiles
The dad, 74, loves to dance to everything from rap to country – but especially loves Elvis Presley.
Rebecca O’Brien / SWNS

Rebecca captured the touching moment her father experienced while listening to music. She bought Eddie headphones for Father’s Day and “he really, really fell in love with them” when he started playing his favorite songs.

“I don’t think my mother was very pleased. She tried to watch TV but my dad just sang about it,” said Rebecca, who lives in Warrington, Cheshire, UK. “He absolutely loved it.”

The music lover still hits the pub in Warrington every Monday between 2pm and 7pm and gets patrons swaying. “The DJ there told me he didn’t have to do his job because my dad makes everyone dance,” Rebecca said.

Eddie’s diagnosis was tough on his family, but music made them smile.

“It’s just a breath of fresh air, to be honest, because [Alzheimer’s] can be so heartbreaking,” Rebecca said of her heartwarming discovery.

“Oftentimes it makes people more angry, upset and frustrated because they don’t know what’s going on. But my dad just doesn’t seem to care and I think that’s the best way forward — he’s absolutely loving life now,” she said.

The O'Brien family
The O’Brien family has struggled a bit since Eddie’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but are glad they found a way to brighten his day.
Rebecca O’Brien / SWNS

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

The O’Brien family became concerned for their patriarch after realizing his cognitive decline led to some frightening situations, including a time when Eddie was mugged.

“The two men had stolen £500 [about $613] from his bank accounts for keeping his PIN number in his wallet. And another time he said he got on the wrong bus home but couldn’t remember where the bus took him,” Rebecca shared with SWNS. “And that’s when we started to have quite a few concerns.”

Rebecca, who works as a geriatric care assistant, explained that the family have days when they struggle with Eddie’s disease but are happy overall.

Eddie O'Brien and his daughter Rebecca O'Brien
Rebecca bought her dad headphones for Father’s Day so he can enjoy his music while his wife watches TV.
Rebecca O’Brien / SWNS

“Generally he’s just really happy and it’s nice to be around him because he’s just so happy and he makes me happy and that’s all I focus on,” Rebecca said.

Music has been found to trigger memories and emotions in people with dementia – Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia.

“Music has the power to create beautiful moments of togetherness, to uplift, stimulate and empower people to express themselves,” Grace Meadows, campaign director for UK group Music for Dementia, told SWNS.

“It can also help people with Alzheimer’s in so many other ways by providing a channel through which symptoms of the disease and emotions can be managed,” Meadows added. “It can bring joy when they’re feeling down, create a sense of calm when they’re excited or anxious, as well as create wonderful shared experiences with loved ones.”

So, let the music play!

https://nypost.com/2022/06/27/elvis-fan-74-with-alzheimers-comes-back-to-life-when-he-hears-favorite-songs/ Elvis fan, 74, with Alzheimer’s ‘comes alive’ when listening to favorite songs

Emma Bowman

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