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.

Five Questions With… Beth Britton

Every fortnight we sit down with a guest working in dementia care to bring you an insight to their role and experience of using meaningful music. This week we speak to Beth Britton, an award-winning Dementia Activist and Content Creator.

Listen to Beth's personalised playlist at the end of the feature.

Hi Beth. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us. As someone with personal and professional experience of dementia, what motivates you in your work as a campaigner, content creator and consultant?

After my dad died following his 19 years with dementia, I really wanted his legacy to be something tangible, as I outlined in my first blog post ‘Welcome to D for Dementia.’

Dad’s years with dementia ended in April 2012, but for me the quest to provide support and advice to those faced with similar situations; inform and educate the wider population; promote debate while campaigning for improvements in dementia care and changes to the general care system goes on.

I’m very lucky to have had more than 12 wonderful years doing the work I do, and recently won the Outstanding Contribution to Dementia Care category at the 2024 Dementia Care Awards. I still have so much more to do though, and this is a big motivator for me.


Can you tell us about a time you’ve seen the power of music in action, either in dementia care or another scenario?

My dad’s life with dementia really showed me the power of music in dementia care. When my dad could no longer hold a conversation, he could still sing a song, word perfect from beginning to end. It was truly magical and it had such a profound impact on me that I trained as a singer and did 35 gigs in care homes just so I could spread that magic a bit further.

With diagnoses of dementia projected to increase, it’s likely that many in the UK will become affected by dementia, what do you think can be done to bring dementia conversation into the mainstream?

I think hearing from people with personal experiences is really important. Dementia advocates are vital in helping us all to understand the experience of living with dementia and to help professionals to provide better support. Many names spring to mind, but one of the greatest influencers in the last few years has been Wendy Mitchell, who sadly died in February 2024. Wendy did so much to help everyone understand dementia better and fear it less, with numerous TV and radio interviews and three wonderful books.

I love initiatives like the Good Life with Dementia course too. Every person newly diagnosed should have access to this: a course delivered by people living with dementia to those newly diagnosed – what could be more powerful (and helpful!)? If we can make post-diagnosis more supportive with courses like this and though everyone having access to an Admiral Nurse (another of my dreams!) then coming forward when you have concerns about potential dementia symptoms may not feel so daunting.

What’s one thing you do for your own health that you would recommend to others?
Walking in nature is probably my current number one activity for looking after my health. I’ve always been really good at eating healthily, but I’ve never been good at taking regular exercise. It’s tricky with my young family to always find time to do the kind of walking I enjoy the most – fast and far – but I’m very lucky to live surrounded by beautiful countryside and I get out into it as much as I can.

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Beth's personal playlist

The Impossible Dream by  Elvis Presley

This really sums up how I’ve often felt in my life, trying to climb mountains to achieve things that seem impossible. My dream is that everyone living with dementia can live as well as possible, and although that seems impossible I will always keep striving for it.

That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick

I’m very lucky to have some lovely friends and they are wonderfully supportive. This song always reminds me of the power of their friendship. It’s also a song I love singing along to!

The Wonder of You by Elvis Presley

Despite including two of his songs, I’m not Elvis obsessed (honestly!). This makes the list because Arsenal (the football team I support) used to play The Wonder of You routinely before home matches. I have incredibly fond memories of being in the stands, singing with my mum and our friend Fozzy at the tops of our voices. It always makes me smile, no matter how tough my day has been.

Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations 

Again, this is a feel-good entry. Whenever it comes on the radio I sing and dance (much to my son’s amusement!). It also reminds me of a lovely evening spent at the 2022 WAGS (Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care) Awards with my MacIntyre colleagues. I made a film of me singing along and sent it to my daughter that night (my daughter now hates this song!). 

Edward Elgar’s Chanson de Matin

Finally, a special mention for a piece of music not on my playlist. Whenever I hear this on the radio (when my mum has Classic FM on), I always cry, not just because it’s a beautiful piece of music but because my memory of it is walking behind my dad’s coffin as we began his funeral. It always stops me in my tracks and takes me back to that moment. My dad loved Elgar and this was the perfect piece of music for his final goodbye.