Create a playlist – Music for Dementia
Playlists offer a way of capturing all the songs or pieces of music that make up the soundtrack to your life
Your playlist is unique to you and can help express your identity and history. A personalised playlist can provide a source of comfort and enjoyment, helping to ensure that music listening is person-centred.
Making a playlist for someone else, particularly those no longer able to communicate using words, enables carers to tap into their likes and dislikes, memories and, most importantly, who they are as a person.
Try to find a way to help someone be a part of their musical soundtrack by involving them from the very beginning. Perhaps hum a phrase or two from a song to help get your musical conversation started – be that in person, online or down the phone.
If you are able to be with them at this time, look out for a nod, smile, frown or other gestures that will help indicate what music appeals.
When to listen
Playlists can be used at any time of the day or night to aid communication, stimulate, soothe or entertain.
Playlist for Life has produced some excellent resources
Guides for making playlists online
Want to get online to make a playlist but not sure where to begin? Check out our guides for putting together your favourite tracks via an online streaming service:
BBC Music Memories is another very useful resource, designed to use music to help people with dementia reconnect with their most powerful memories.
Playlists and isolation
Here are a few ideas about how you can get music to someone. Please follow core public health advice first.
Create a mix CD, and post it to them
Preload a musical device with their favourite tracks and drop it at their front door (make sure they have headphones if they need them)
Hold a video call – If you are on Skype, Zoom, Face Time etc. talk and listen to music together
Have a musical conversation over the phone where you can listen and sing to some tracks together
If they are ‘computer savvy’ send them a playlist link to a streaming service such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube etc. Use our guides below to help you create the playlist
Would you like to help the music for Dementia campaign? Help us to help everyone living with dementia to access meaningful music.Read more
Advice and resources
Useful information for people living with dementia, carers, family members, health professionals and musicians.Read more
There are many studies demonstrating how various musical activities benefit people living with dementia.Read more