DEMENTIA charity Playlist for Life has launched a new app to help those living with the condition benefit from the power of music.
The charity, set up by BBC Scotland presenter Sally Magnusson, aims to help those with dementia, as well as their familes and carers, use music in a number of ways to ease the impact of the condition.
The free app, designed with the help of people with dementia, makes it simple and fun to create a unique playlist that holds a unique personal meaning.
Research over two decades has proven that music can be a powerful tool to those with the condition. It can help in reducing agitation and distress, reducing the need for drugs and also reconnecting families through shared memories associated with music.
As well as the benefits music brings, the activity of creating and using the playlist can help families connect with their loved ones.
The charity has previously helped Scots affected by dementia to select personal playlists and load them onto donated MP3 players and iPods.
Their website also allows people to share their personal playlists, and features contributions for the likes of Judy Murray and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The new app introduces people to the character of the Music Detective, their friendly guide who helps them track down the music that forms the soundtrack of their life – or the life of a loved one.
Users can access a range of reminiscence prompts to guide them to the music that holds the strongest memories. Or they can browse over a hundred playlists of songs from the past century.
The app taps into the expertise of Playlist for Life’s real-life music detectives who will be adding new playlists every month to delight and surprise users.
Once someone has found their music they can listen to it whenever they need it, day or night. The app also helps people make the best use of their music by encouraging them to add labels to each song.
The labels will help them organise their playlist by what it reminds them of, how it makes them feel, and what they want to do while listening.
The app is powered by Spotify and allows users to listen to more than 30 million songs available in Spotify’s library. Users will need a premium Spotify account to make full use of the app.
The public version of the Playlist for Life app is made possible by a generous donation from the Utley Foundation, and builds on a research app developed in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University as part of Nesta’s Dementia Citizens project and funded by The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation, and Alzheimer Scotland.
Sally Magnusson, founder and chair of Playlist for Life, said “The incredible generosity of our funding partners has allowed us to develop an app that will make it easier for people to find the most potent music to connect with loved ones who have dementia, and for those in the earlier stages of the illness themselves to find and use the music that means most to them.”
Sarah Metcalfe, Chief Executive of Playlist for Life, added: “It’s never too early to start creating your playlist. We want everyone to know about the power of personally-meaningful music for people living with dementia.
“Creating a playlist for yourself or a loved one is a great way to get people talking about music for dementia. And the Playlist for Life app is a fun way for all of us to start creating that playlist.”
Find out more at www.playlistforlife.co.uk