Why you should create your Playlist for Life

Improving service quality
11th January 2015

Remember when you were thirteen? What music were you listening to? 

What about the year you left home? 

Or maybe the day you met the love of your life?

These are the questions I pondered when I created my Playlist for Life as part of an event I was helping to run last year. Haven’t heard of it?  You’ll find information here.

Music brings the memories alive

A warm, mellow ache settled in my chest as I connected with the memories swirling up through the music. I feel it again, now, as I write. 

You select five songs or pieces of music, then capture in words why these have a particular significance for you. You’ll find mine on the ‘Playlist’ page. They were mostly happy times. Some relate to early transitions and are infused with angst. But all are uniquely ‘me’.

I hadn’t anticipated how the music would bring the memories so gloriously alive.

Dedicated to people with dementia

Playlist for Life is a charity with its origins in New York. Their work is dedicated to people with dementia. The premise: a thoughtfully compiled, highly personal playlist will help people with dementia reconnect with experiences that defined them.

In turn, the Playlist enables those closest to the person with dementia – whether it be family, friends or care staff – understand what makes them unique. Through the music, you share their special moments. Connecting with the person beyond that of ‘patient’ or ‘care home resident’ is fundamental to care that is respectful and person centred.

The Playlist team provides the means to play the music with the person such as an MP3 Player or iPod. The website offers guidance on getting started. Mine will be there should it be needed at some point in the future.

Turning the tides on attitudes

Few will escape the impact of Dementia in the years to come. Currently 1 in 15 people have dementia in the UK but it’s predicted to rise by 40% over the next 12 years, and by 156% by 2050. These are breath-taking increases.

Helping organisations improve how they support people with dementia lead the lives they choose is deeply meaningful work. Over the past year I’ve shared the stage at events with people living with dementia themselves or care for someone who is affected. The campaign, driven by the Scottish Government, is for better services and for communities to be ‘dementia-friendly’, well informed and enabling. There’s been great progress but there’s more to do.

Playlist for Life is helping to turn the tide on attitudes. The music helps people stay in touch with who they are and maintains the vital connection with loved ones. A connection that can be so easily broken as the condition progresses. 

Have a go yourself. Better still help a loved one create their playlist and experience the joy of memories shared.












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