In these troubling times it is always heartening to come across a new initiative aimed at making lives easier for those living with dementia. So we were thrilled to come across the newly launched ‘Music & Dementia at the BBC’, a project that sees the BBC collaborating with more than 100 organisations to help bring music to people living with dementia.
The initiative recognises that music has the unique power to unlock memories helping people to connect with their families, friends and carers. The BBC has been creating an impressive dementia-friendly resource for some years now; last year its work inspired more than 800 events across the UK, from pop-up nightclubs and raves at care homes to intergenerational singing sessions, all celebrating the power of music to change lives.
From the website, those with dementia and their carers can access a range of resources including playlists with old-time music, articles written about the subject, first-hand experiences and links to organisations and charities with a particular focus on the arts and dementia.
They are also listing useful guides for our current situation, living with coronavirus. We particularly liked this guide to using music to keep connected during social isolation – download it here. Tips include making personal playlists based on your knowledge of your loved ones’ likes, and a website that can help you figure out the name of a song if you know some lyrics but can’t remember what it’s called!
A key part of the project is the BBC Music Memories website, which features almost 3,000 free, 30-second music clips to stimulate memory through music. It helps families, friends and carers support people living with dementia to identify personally meaningful music and create playlists.
The multi-award-winning musician Nile Rodgers is an ambassador for the project; his mother has lived with dementia for more than 15 years. Rodgers has personal experience of the power of music over dementia. ‘“Every time we passed any kind of shop that was playing music, my mother would start to sing,” he said. “Anything that was old, she knew perfectly. So a Frank Sinatra song would come on, or Diana Ross or Barbra Streisand. My mom just nailed it. It was incredible.”
Check out everything that’s on offer at this invaluable website here