Category: Music

What music would be on your favourite playlist?

What music would be on your favourite playlist?

Have you ever had the experience of hearing a piece of music on the radio and been transported back to a time, place or event in our lives?  Perhaps it was your first dance at your wedding, a concert you attended or a track from your favourite musical.  Music is so powerful for so many of us and more and more research is highlighting the additional benefit for those living with a dementia.

The power of music, seems to reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot. Some studies are showing that finding the right music for an individual may result in less anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medication. Individually chosen music can aid therapeutic benefits of other music provided by our homes.

Our appeal is that families help create a personalised playlist for their relative in our care.  You may not know all their favourite music but you probably know more than you think.  I can think back to my grandmother’s house and I probably would have found a number of clues to help me select music: sheet music, programmes from musicals, memory of her singing as she baked cakes, and the theme tune to her favourite TV programme to name a few.

We would love for our residents to have a playlist of music that means the most to them.  It could be on an iPod, tablet or other device and staff would gladly play the music and hear the stories it uncovers. The music might soothe, calm, comfort, or even provide an opportunity to get up and dance.

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The power of music and a possible Christmas gift suggestion

The power of music and a possible Christmas gift suggestion

Music has been shown in studies to have a dramatic effect in helping those living with dementia. Whether it’s classical, opera, songs from shows or ‘60s music can sooth, stimulate and bring to mind long-forgotten memories.

The power of music, in particular singing seems to reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot.  Studies by Professor Paul Robertson says as the ‘auditory system of the brain is first to fully function at 16 weeks, which means you are musically receptive long before anything else.  The study argues that it’s a case of first in, last out when it comes to dementia-type breakdown of memory.’

Go into any of our homes and you will often hear music being played, residents singing, musical instruments being played and a huge variety of musical entertainers visiting.  We like entertainers that engage – you may find residents & staff dancing to music being played, or singing, whistling, clapping or just tapping their feet.  We are constantly changing our entertainers although some homes continue to have firm favourites. We do ask that our entertainers provide a broad repertoire so there is something for everyone.

A very moving clip is Gladys Wilson with Naomi Fells which we believe clearly demonstrates the power of music.  It really is worth watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrZXz10FcVM

Looking for a Christmas present idea then what about using an ipod and creating a bespoke playlist.  Think about the songs that you heard playing when growing up, perhaps include the song your relative had as their first dance at their wedding, music from a show they love, a hymn, lullaby the possibilities are endless.  If you want suggestions on what to include then we suggest reading the Playlist for Life “How to make a playlist for life.”  Alternatively you could fill an ipod with a range of music including wartime memories, Nat King Cole, Glenn Miller, 50’s rock & roll, Elvis, Beatles, Elton John, classical music as possibilities.

Ian Donaghy, author of ‘Dear Dementia’ says “the power of music – it creates togetherness, a sense of belonging.  Some songs make you laugh others make you cry but they can all remind us who we are.”

We hope to hear some favourite playlists soon