Online training package to help people with dementia to be launched at GCU

16 March 2015

GCU Research Fellow and Lecturer Andrew Lowndes is Playlist for Life's Deputy Chair

GCU Research Fellow and Lecturer Andrew Lowndes is Playlist for Life's Deputy Chair

An online training package for care organisations to help patients with dementia will be launched at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) next week (Monday, March 23).

The Playlist for Life charity will join staff members from across GCU to co-deliver an event for care professionals and the family and friends of people with dementia.

Playlist for Life was founded by GCU Honorary Graduate Dr Sally Magnusson in 2013, after observing the effect of personalised music on her mother, who had dementia. The charity’s core work is to encourage families and other caregivers to offer people with the condition a playlist of the music that has been meaningful to them during their life.

The online training package is designed to guide carers on how to set up personalised music playlists on iPods and other digital devices. It has been developed by Playlist for Life and Andrew Lowndes, a Research Fellow and Lecturer in GCU's School of Health and Life Sciences and the charity’s Deputy Chair.

Andrew said: “The charity’s approach is so simple, yet so effective. We encourage care givers to understand that, although very important, it’s not just about keeping people fed, watered and clean, but helping them to feel like themselves again.

“There is growing evidence that if people with dementia are offered frequent access to the music in which their past experience and memories are embedded, it can improve their mood, awareness and their ability to understand and think, and help their sense of identity and independence. Family members also find that sharing this kind of music can help recover the closeness of a relationship and bring structure to what is often a long day or a difficult visit.”

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to more than 1 million by 2025. It is a terminal condition, with symptoms including memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.