Funding boost for dementia music charity

Wednesday 24th July 2019

A charity which uses music playlists to help dementia patients has been awarded £1.6m of lottery funding to help expand its work.

Playlist for Life teaches families and carers how to create a personalised music soundtrack, which reflects a person’s life.

The charity says care homes involved in the project consistently report a reduction in medication for residents with dementia – by as much as 60%.

The grant from the National Lottery will be used to raise awareness and grow a network of Playlist for Life community help points – hosted by organisations such as church groups, libraries and carers’ centres – to 1,500 across the UK.

Rev Helen Jamieson, playlist leader of the first community help point at St Andrews Church of Scotland in Carluke, Lanarkshire, said the initiative had ‘changed my ministry’.

She said: “The training we received opened our eyes to the power of music to reach people with dementia.

“Personal music is now a regular part of the way our church supports people living with the condition and their families.

“We have incorporated playlists into church services, pastoral visits and even funerals.”

Playlist for Life was founded by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, after the death of her mother Mamie, who had dementia.

She said she had discovered by accident how personal music can help when caring for her mother.

She added: “My vision was that if every person with dementia has a unique personal playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them knows how to use it, then we can improve the way we connect and care for people living with this illness.”