Braeside House residents create their Playlists for Life

Posted: 04/01/2018 | Care for Older People,

Music is a powerful force. It can affect the way we think and the way we move. It can also bring back treasured memories, and this is why staff at Braeside House have joined forces with Playlist for Life (PFL), a charity which supports the creation of personal playlists to enhance memories in people with dementia.

Staff hold the Playlist for Life plaque Staff have received training from PLF to become ‘music detectives’ and track down residents’ special songs. They have already helped 21 residents to create their very own playlists.

Serena Allan, Braeside House Manager, said: “Music has such an impact on people’s lives and can bring back so many memories.

“One of our residents, Maisie, says that the music makes her happy. She can’t see anything, but is settled and relaxed when her music is on. Another resident, Millie, used to be a singer in a band. She doesn’t remember this but she does remember the music.”

Barrie Simcock, Activities Team Leader at the home, said: “With the help of Playlist for Life the activities team has built up a knowledge on how to be music detectives and how to find everyone’s special playlist.

“The project has been very positive, it hasn’t been an easy task, but is very worthwhile. Some people have found it difficult, as music is very powerful and immediate. All it takes is one song to bring back a thousand memories.”

Barrie said the music on the playlists has been very varied and include Lena Zaveroni, Vera Lynn, Johann Strauss, Hank Williams and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

“People have a great sense of musical pride and the memories that are brought back through the music gives them a sense of belonging,” he said.

Serena said: “Another of our residents, Jean, used to be a pianist and hasn’t played for years. She really enjoyed getting her past back and this project has got her back to playing again.

“While another resident, Helen, suffers from Charles Bonnet syndrome and has great difficulty sleeping. Her playlist calms her down in the middle of the night.”

The music detectives in the activities team have worked with relatives and friends when possible to draw up playlists and everyone feels they now have a better understanding of the residents through sharing their music.

Barrie added: “Mary, who is 97 and always keeps us right, has a wonderful playlist which includes the Bay City Rollers, Gordon Macrea and Simon and Garfunkle.”

The PFL programme has been shared with all staff and families of residents and creating individual playlists will be a part of the admission process for people coming to Braeside House in the future.

Braeside House has been awarded a PFL plaque and is now officially a Playlist for Life establishment.