Health & Fitness

Why do TikTok Teenagers hearken to an album about dementia?

Among them is Owen Amble, 16, from Spokane, Washington. He was drawn to "Everywhere at the End of Time" because his grandfather was recently diagnosed with dementia. "I want him to be fine and I just wanted to know what's going on," he said in a telephone interview.

On September 17th, Owen released a TikTok about how the album had moved him to tears. "Literally the definition of pain," he wrote in the headline. "I never cried hearing anything." His video has been viewed more than 340,000 times.

"I felt so sad, but I was also so happy because I appreciated this part of my life so much more," he said of the album. "I'm still a kid, I don't have a lot of these tasks. And I just make all these memories. But to think that one day everything I've ever done can just go away based on my memory. It's so horrible." He said the album helped him understand his grandfather's illness.

"The composer of this music was really fixated on something – through the medium of music – to take a younger generation on a journey through the sounds of what is going through the brain, through a process of dementia," said Brian Browne, president of Dementia Care Education that trains people who work with people with dementia. "It's very welcome because it creates the necessary empathy."

Some of the TikTok videos, annotated by multiple digital media, urged others to sit down as an endurance test by recording and describe the physiological symptoms they experienced afterwards. "I really shouldn't have listened every 6 hours, my body feels numb and I won't stop crying," wrote one user. "You feel more and more like dementia," Owen said of his hearing experience. "In the end, my mind was so fogged."

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