Lauren Laverne teams up with dementia campaign to promote playlists

The radio presenter is helping Music for Dementia raise awareness of a series of guides to help people use online music platforms, such as Spotify and Amazon, to create playlists with those living with dementia.

Joe Lepper | 5th Dec 19
lauren laverne involved in dementia campaign

Radio presenter Lauren Laverne is fronting a campaign by Music for Dementia 2020 to encourage people to create playlists for family members and loved ones who are living with dementia.

The BBC Radio 4 Desert Island discs and 6Music breakfast show presenter explains how creating a nine-hour playlist with her father, who died last year, has helped her.

The campaign, which has been created by charitable trust Utley Foundation, is raising awareness of how listening to music with a personal connection can benefit those living with dementia.

The playlist awareness raising drive has been timed for the run up to Christmas, which “can be a stressful time for those living with dementia, their families and carers as usual routines are disrupted”, says the charity.

The charity added: “However, creating a personalised playlist can reduc some of the symptoms of dementia such as agitation, as well as bringing people together to build an emotional connection, facilitate conversations and create memories.”

Laverne’s playlist was created with her late father and she is still continues to add to it and also incorporates its tracks into her breakfast show.

“I have seen first-hand the deep conversations, comfort and ongoing legacy that can grow out of creating a playlist with a loved one,” said Laverne.

“It was something I did with my dad before he died of kidney disease last year. Music was a huge part of his life but by then he was too poorly to access his own collection. It took a whole day and when we were done, we were left with nine hours’ worth of music.

“I’m still adding to it as well as listening to it and it is enormously comforting. It helps me feel closer to him.”

Online guides

Music for Dementia 2020 has created online guides to help create playlists using Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Google and Youtube.

“Having access to personalised music, in the right way and at the right time, has been shown to be much more effective than just putting the radio on or listening indiscriminately to music,” said, Music for Dementia 2020 Programme Director Grace Meadows.

“The act of creating a personalised playlist, whether that’s done online, writing it down or a piece of paper on by going through your music collection with someone, makes up the soundtrack of your life.”

She added that the campaign hopes to link up further in the future with online music platforms.