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Playlist for Life

Playlist for Life is a UK music and dementia charity. We promote the use of personally meaningful music because music that gives you that ‘flashback feeling’ can be a lifeline if you develop dementia. When you listen to music, your brain lights up like a fireworks display. If parts of your brain are damaged, the music can still reach those other parts. Personally meaningful music can bring back feelings, memories and sometimes even abilities thought lost. It can also strengthen relationships, reconnect families and manage some of the symptoms of dementia. Playlist for Life wants everyone with dementia to have access to the music that has soundtracked their life. We provide information, tools and training to help people with dementia and those caring for them build a playlist and listen to it in the most effective way.

11 September 2019
South West, National
Arts, Care, Charity, Communication, Community organisations, Domiciliary Care, Faith Groups, GP Surgery, Health, heritage, Hospices, Hospitality, Hospitals and Hospital Trusts, Medical, Other, Recreation, Social Care, Voluntary, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Bath & North East Somerset

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Personal playlists are a cheap, simple and powerful way to harness the power of music to make living with dementia easier and happier.  Playlist for Life wants everyone affected by dementia to know this, so that we no longer hear people say “I wish I had known about this when I was caring for my loved one”. We are working with our partners in the care sector, media and music industry to raise awareness. We also run training for care professionals, to help them integrate the use of personal music in to daily care. We are working with dementia-friendly community groups across the UK to set up local Help Points, where we train volunteers to give practical help to individuals and their carers and support them in creating their playlists.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The biggest challenge is the majority of people affected by dementia do not know that music can help.  There are other challenges around the technical barriers people face in accessing music digitally and choosing the right equipment to play their music on.  This is why Playlist for Life have developed a range of tools and advice to make finding and listening to music easier.

2. Actions


    Playlist for Life is part of a growing movement of individuals and organisations who are harnessing the power of music. We are working with multiple partners, large and small, to offer everyone affected by dementia the tools and training to become Music Detectives so they can harness the power of music every day.

    As part of our wider awareness-raising campaign, we have a growing team of Volunteer Speakers and Networkers. Our Speakers deliver our talk to local groups such as Guilds, Rotaries, WIs. Our Networkers approach organisations in their local area to offer them our talk, tell them about our training for care professionals and give information on how community groups can become Playlist for Life Help Points.

    Our Help Points are being set-up in partnership with existing community organisations such as libraries, places of worship, carers centres and memory cafes across the UK. We train staff and volunteers so that they can give practical advice locally. We provide the training and materials for Help Points for free. Further information on Help Points can be found here: https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/set-up-a-help-point

    Being implemented

    Playlist for Life is focused on building active networks of people harnessing the power of music at a local level. We are connecting our volunteers and Help Points with care homes and hospitals who have had Playlist for Life training, so they can support each other and the people they are working with and caring for.


    Being implemented

    We know that many people have difficulty accessing music as technology advances. Playlist for Life provides advice and offers tools, such as the Playlist for Life app, to make accessing music and building playlists easier. We will soon be launching an online platform that will make it easier for care establishments to make multiple playlists for residents and patients.

    Being implemented