Playlist for Life

Published on 7 Jul 2014

Playlist for Life bases its work on the premise that music is for everyone and that it can be used as a powerful tool to improve the lives of people with dementia, either in the early or advanced stages. It encourages families and other caregivers to offer people with dementia a thoughtfully compiled and personal playlist of music that has been meaningful to them during their life. This is delivered on an mp3 media player device such as an iPod. Playlist for Life can be used in home and residential settings.

Evidence suggests that if people with dementia are offered frequent access to the music in which their past experience and memories are rooted, that it can improve their mood, their awareness, their ability to understand and think, and their sense of identity and independence. It also creates opportunities for relationships to be reignited; the music makes interaction between individual and caregiver more relaxed and enjoyable. A message that sticks is that 'Music is a bridge' - it connects people, and not only fosters improved relationships, but intergenerational ones too. An overview of the research behind the use of music in the treatment of dementia is available on the website.

Recent developments

Early in 2014, Playlist for Life began work in the town of Dunfermline, funded by the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, to develop training that will benefit people with dementia in the town itself and provide a model to roll-out throughout the UK.

It is also working with Glasgow Caledonian University and other academic partners on a research proposal to measure the efficacy, constraints and economic advantages of offering personal music on iPods to people with dementia in different care settings.

Playlist for Life offers guidance to help individuals and organisations get started. It also has a space for stories of how music made a difference to people's lives and a place to submit personal playlists.

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