Stirring memories from music

Listening to favourite songs has benefits for those with dementia
Listening to favourite songs has benefits for those with dementia

Families caring for a friend or relative with dementia are being encouraged to try out a new musical initiative which is proving a hit with patients across Forth Valley.

The Playlist for Life project involves complying a selection of meaningful music from the person’s life, from songs from weddings and birthdays to favourite tunes from school days or themes from TV shows.

The songs can then be loaded onto an iPod for them to listen to at home or stored on a CD.

The Playlist for Life project has mainly been used in care homes and hospitals, but NHS Forth Valley staff are keen to encourage families to try it at home as research shows it can help alleviate dementia symptoms such as anxiety and agitation, reducing the need for medication as well as helping people to reconnect with those around them.

Yvonne Cairns, one of NHS Forth Valley’s Dementia Champions said: “As a nurse working in older people’s care I have seen first-hand the impact that music can have on patients living with dementia.

“We have seen people who have previously been very withdrawn become animated and keen to talk about their memories.”