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The Feast of Saint Matthias
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The beautiful moment when an Alzheimer’s patient responds to Christian hymns

Gladys Wilson and Naomi Feil

memorybridge | YouTube | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/08/20

Lost in her non-verbal world, Gladys Wilson communicates through hymns.

Naomi Feil is a Jewish therapist who managed to break through to an elderly Alzheimer’s patient through Christian music.

Feil came up with a form of treatment called validation therapy that aims to help those with cognitive impairments and dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. The therapy entails encouraging communication with a patient through respect, taking into account their feelings and opinions.

The video of Feil singing with Gladys Wilson is the perfect example of how this therapy works. Through singing familiar hymns from Wilson’s past, Feil manages to breakthrough to her patient and is able to establish a connection, making her feel more secure.

Wilson’s reaction to the hymns is beautiful and you can see her passion for the music and the spiritual words as she tries to join in Feil’s rendition. The therapist responds to her patient’s reactions and soon the two women are joined together in Wilson’s love for Jesus.

You need to watch the video to the very end to appreciate the power of song, mutual respect, and the love of God. For just a few moments, Wilson is cognitively aware and feels secure. It’s a small moment in time but a huge victory for Feil, who gets to see a glimmer of her patient’s true self.


Read more:
How to help loved ones with Alzheimer’s stay connected with God


Read more:
Study finds Alzheimer’s cannot take away memories of music

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