A new radio station that plays music directly targeted at people with dementia has been declared a resounding success after its first month on air.
Music for Dementia radio arose directly out of the Covid crisis, as the programme director, Grace Meadows, explained. ‘We’ve been supporting lots of places to deliver live music in care settings, and obviously with the restrictions around Covid we had to stop. But we didn’t want the music to stop, because it’s such an important part of health and wellbeing. So we thought, how can we quickly get music to people, and came up with the radio idea.’
Since the launch in June the channel has been accessed by more than 15,000 devices from within homes and care settings. This means the online station has already been enjoyed by around 1 in 20 people living with dementia in the UK.
“We know that music is such a wonderful connector and has the ability to bring people together in the here and now,’ said Meadows. ‘Music for Dementia Radio aims to reduce the feeling of isolation for those living with dementia and their carers, by creating a sense of community around music – a shared experience that all can take part in.
‘We’ve had such lovely, positive feedback. Lots of people are using it as the soundtrack to activities, lots of people are using it to spur and trigger memories. People are loving the diverse and eclectic range of music.’
Listeners can tune into a ‘mix station’, which plays music from across the multiple eras, and four other stations playing music by the decade, from the 1930s to 1970s. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘We were conscious not to have any ads,’ continued Meadows, ‘as we know that these can be disorienting and confusing for people.’
Already the station has heard of innovative uses for its music offerings. One care setting organised a ‘day off from Covid’ – they put on the 1960s channel all day, got everyone to dress up in clothes from the era, served 1960s food and generally had a party using the music as a background. ‘It was a great response to the challenging time we’ve experienced,’ said Meadows.
You can access the radio station at https://m4dradio.com/.