Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

10 highlights of our 10th year

In 2023 Playlist for Life celebrated 10 years of meaningful music for dementia.

It has certainly been a busy year! Amid our ongoing mission to ensure everyone living with dementia has access to a personally meaningful playlist, we marked our 10th birthday with a string of events and awareness raising campaigns. From a live concert, musical teas and everything in between, here are 10 things that saw us say ‘cheers’ to 10 years of harnessing the power of meaningful music for dementia.

We hosted a two-day national conference

Playlist for Life was founded a decade ago with one simple mission: to help people living with dementia through the power of meaningful music. And when our 10th birthday came around in June, we were thrilled to celebrate our success with a two-day conference: one day at Impact Arts in Glasgow and the second online for partners across the UK.

Attended by people we’ve worked with over the years including people living with dementia, families and carers, health and care professionals and Help Point partners, it was an honour to mark all we’ve built and achieved since 2013. The conferences was filled with engaging seminars, sharing of playlists and of course, birthday cake.  

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Our Honorary President and Founder was awarded an MBE

Hot off the heels of our 10th birthday success, Sally Magnusson, our founder and Honorary President was recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours list for services to people living with dementia and their carers. 

Sally set up the charity with our retired mental health nurse and academic Andy Lowndes, after discovering the power music held for her mother, Mamie, who lived with dementia and died in 2012. Playlist for Life was built through Sally’s experience of caring for her mother and her desire to share what she’d learnt with others living with dementia. After Mamie’s death, Sally wrote her Sunday Times bestselling memoir ‘Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything’, fuelling momentum for the charity by raising public conversations about the impact of dementia on families. This seeded the idea of personal music as a crucial tool in keeping those living with it connected to themselves and to others.

Watch the video below to see one of the first people we created a playlist for. Margaret Murphy, who lived with dementia, is transported back to her days playing piano professionally, connecting with those around her and being the performer again thanks to listening to her personalised playlist.

We spearheaded the second annual National Playlist Day on 20th September

During World Alzheimer’s Month we held the second National Playlist Day to encourage people to think about the meaningful songs that make up the soundtrack of their life. Inviting our industry colleagues, Help Point partners and people living with dementia to take part, National Playlist Day was celebrated across the country. The campaign caught the attention of the press with coverage across STV, BBC Radio Scotland, Daily Record, Glasgow Times and the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show. We also caught the eye of more than 250,000 people on social media.  

Playlist for Life was highlighted in Scotland’s new Dementia Strategy

In 2023, The Scottish Government launched Everyone’s Story: the new dementia strategy for Scotland.

Playlist for Life is recognised and signposted to on p50 as a non-pharmacological intervention that ‘may improve cognition, social engagement, and quality of life and decrease stress and stress’.

We were delighted to take part in the consultation process in partnership with The Dementia Policy team at Scottish Government  by facilitating engagement sessions with people living with dementia, carers and community partners.

We made our mark with a mural

Playlist for Life was founded in Glasgow – a city famous for murals. On National Playlist Day we unveiled a gable end wall mural in the city. We worked on this with people living with dementia, their families and the amazing team at SWG3 and artist Molly Hankinson. The mural incorporates lyrics from the songs on people’s playlists and a QR code for passers-by to scan and access our free resources. You can visit the mural at SWG3 Eastvale Pl in Glasgow. 

"Elvis is my idol. Oh! I have always loved Elvis. That's my favourite Elvis song."
Charlie McGlone
Contributor of 'It's now or never' lyrics to the mural, living with dementia
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We hosted a celebratory and awareness-raising concert 

We brought together people living with dementia, families, carers, supporters of Playlist for Life and music fans in Glasgow’s famous Old Fruitmarket venue for a special evening of music and memories. Providing entertainment for the evening were: Alzheimer’s Scotland Every Voice Choir, The Bluebells, The Twilight Sad, Theo Bleak, Curlew and Man of Moon. Attended by over 300 guests, it was a special evening to celebrate 10 years of our charity and encourage everyone to get started on their own personalised playlist.  

Thanks to our partners Glasgow Life, our host Paul English and event producer Sandra Gordon for making the event one to remember. 

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Our fifth annual golf day raised £35,000 

We celebrated another milestone this spring as an annual fundraiser, organised by our Trustee Dr Frank Dunn and his wife Helen Dunn, ran for the fifth year. The day was a success thanks to the 100 supporters from companies including Arnold Clark and Pacific Care who gathered at Lenzie Golf Club for a great day of golfing and bidding on auction prizes. Thankfully the Scottish weather was on our side for the day while we raised £35,000 to help people living with dementia.  

We celebrated a summer of Musical Teas 

To celebrate our 10th birthday, we invited people across the UK to hold a musical tea. The tune-themed get-togethers proved a great way for friends, families, colleagues, and communities to harness the power of meaningful music while raising awareness of its positive impact it can have for people living with dementia.

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"We had lovely day sharing our favourite songs, creating playlists for life and sharing the importance of our choices with our community. The musical tea party gave our service users and staff not only fun filled day together, but also the opportunity to share part of themselves and their identity with each other. It was a great way to get to know each other even more."
Ann South
Music therapist at Derbyshire Stroke and Neuro Therapy centre

We launched new products to start musical conversations

We’re always looking for exciting new ways to share the power of meaningful music for dementia. This year we launched a new range of T-shirts and mugs to start a musical conversation. All profits support our work. Visit our shop to get your own.  

Provided thousands of resources to help harness the power of meaningful music 

Our resources are always free to anyone who needs them and are available in 12 languages. Complete with step-by-step guides on how to create a playlist – from finding the songs and playing them – they will help anyone harness the power of meaningful music. This year we provided almost 14000 physical resource packs to help families and carers make a personally meaningful playlist, including Sam who made a playlist for his dad who lives with dementia.  

If you or anyone you know would benefit from a personally meaningful playlist, visit our resources page.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make our 10th year so special. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our funders, Help Points, donors and partners.  Thank you – here’s to continuing to harness meaningful music for dementia in 2024.