A former ballerina with Alzheimer's hears 'Swan Lake' and bursts into dance in her wheelchair

Sometimes a video comes along that yanks us right us out of the frustrating fray or mundane monotony of the moment and reminds us of the miraculous gift that life truly is. This is one of those.

Marta Cinta González Saldaña was an accomplished ballerina when she was young. Now, in her waning years, she suffers from Alzheimer's. A viral video of González Saldaña shows how she reacts to hearing the music from Swan Lake—a ballet she had performed decades ago. Alternating scenes show her dancing from her wheelchair and a ballerina performing the dance on stage. (Some versions of the video have stated or implied that the young ballerina is González Saldaña herself. It's not.)

The contrast of the stage performance and her memories clearly bursting forth in her face and body movements is incredibly moving. It's amazing how music, dance, art—the universal language of humanity—can remain, even when other memories fade or get locked away.

Just watch, sound up:


Seriously though. Break out the tissues.

The video came about as part of a study being done by the Spanish organization "Music to Awaken," which studies how music impacts patients with dementia. Pepe Olmedo, a psychologist and director of the organization, told Brut that she was selected for the study because of her background as a dancer. "We searched for the songs she'd danced on when she was young," he said, "even songs where she was the prima ballerina. Luckily, we had writings of hers from the past where she recounted several songs. In the end, the day when we met her, she appeared sad, nervous at times, and we didn't know how effective this would be. But as she listened to 'Swan Lake'—that was the first song she listened to—she completely transformed, and it seems like part of her mind traveled to another moment of her life."

Olmedo pointed out that science has proven that some areas of the brain related to musical memory are less damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer's than other parts of the brain. "Our brain is wired to be receptive to music," he says, and "music is totally linked to emotions." It's the emotion that Olmedo says is important for people with dementia to feel to help connect them with the moments in their lives.

Ballerina with Alzheimer's Gets Back Memory of Her Swan Lake Dance Routine www.youtube.com

Absolutely amazing. What a beautiful reminder of the magic of music and a hopeful study for people with loved ones who feel like they are slipping away. No matter how crazy our political chaos gets or how tedious our daily tasks feel, these examples of raw human beauty can help bring us back to what truly matters.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Those of us raising teenagers now didn't grow up with social media. Heck, the vast majority of us didn't even grow up with the internet. But we know how ubiquitous social media, with all of its psychological pitfalls, has become in our own lives, so it's not a big stretch to imagine the incredible impact it can have on our kids during their most self-conscious phase.

Sharing our lives on social media often means sharing the highlights. That's not bad in and of itself, but when all people are seeing is everyone else's highlight reels, it's easy to fall into unhealthy comparisons. As parents, we need to remind our teens not to do that—but we also need to remind them that other people will do that, which is why kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are so important.

Writer and mother of three teen daughters, Whitney Fleming, shared a beautiful post on Facebook explaining what we need to teach our teenagers about empathy in the age of social media, and how we ourselves can serve as an example.

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