CREATE A PLAYLIST

Based on research, our experience, and experts' advice, here is a guide to help you create a playlist for yourself or a loved one suffering from Dementia. 

 

MUSIC ELICITS EMOTIONS

The goal is to elicit happy memories, try to steer clear of sad songs or songs that are tied with dark moments in a person's life.

WATCH FOR A REACTION

It is important to watch for feedback during sessions and adjust accordingly. You may need to change songs or stop playing music altogether.

TIMING IS IMPORTANT TOO

Aim for 30-minute sessions, especially before difficult tasks, and be aware of when music is welcome and when it is not.

Here are some starting points to create your playlist.

CHILDHOOD

Songs that parents sang or listened to when you were younger. These may include lullabies, popular songs from parents' young adulthood years, parents' favourite songs.

ORIGINS

Songs ties to your home country/town. An anthem, your school song, a popular band. Any song that reminds you of home.

PERSONAL INTERESTS

If you are part of a group or have a specific interest, select related songs. For example, if you are devoted to religion, add songs from church or religious events.

MEMORY BUMP

Popular songs from the
time period when you were
10-30 years old... this is
when we create most of
our memories. You are
most likely to remember
songs from this time.

SPECIFIC MEMORIES

Family holidays, school hymns, wedding day songs... songs tied to specific moments that are likely to bring back those memories... Keeping this in mind, select songs tied to happy/pleasant memories.

TRIAL AND ERROR

If you cannot find any clues to help you select songs, begin by playing songs from the memory bump period and watch for a reaction.

 

Playlist for Students Workshop

Recently, MFD offered a workshop to its members through Playlists for Life, a UK organization that advocates for available personalized music for those suffering from dementia and their caretakers. The course is called Playlists for Students and it is available to university organizations. This course allowed MFD volunteers to further understand how dementia affects patients and families and how individualized music can help. Further, the workshop offers a guide to playlist building. If you are a student or a university-affiliated organization, make sure to sign up for this amazing 2-hour course!