Being able to respond to music – the first sense in the foetus and the last to go at death – is the one thing that music can’t destroy. Whilst those with dementia often lose their identity, their story, a piece of music tied to a past experience can spark not just a memory of the event, but the associated feelings, emotions and connections with others.
Musical favourites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring people with dementia back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse and socialise with their loved ones, and often, regain a sense of who they are. It allows people to reconnect with their families and loved ones and that human interaction is what people with dementia so desperately need yet so frequently lack.
That’s why we here at Playlist for Life© (SC044072) are dedicated to encouraging families and caregivers of a person with dementia to create a playlist of uniquely meaningful music on an iPod and offer it at any time of the day or night. It is effective both at home and in residential care, at an early stage of the condition and later on.
Please watch our video of Harry and Margaret at www.playlistforlife.org.uk which tells the story of a man who, having reached the latter stages of his journey, was barely able to open his eyes and communication was all but gone and his wife, Margaret, who felt as if Harry was no longer present. After some crucial detective work, the Playlist for Life team were able to work with Harry and Margaret to compile a personally meaningful playlist of music, taking songs associated to past events in Harry’s life. The result was remarkable.
Upon hearing the playlist Harry’s face lit up and for the first time in a long time, he was able to use words again and, perhaps most importantly, he and Margaret were able to connect again.
We’ve now seen this happen time and time again with other families and we hope to be able to assist others in being able to do the same. What’s vital here is that the music sought is that which is personally meaningful to the individual; we all have music that is important to us, we all have a playlist for life and we can all do this.
If you’d like any further information, please visit our website and/or email us:
Playlist for Life