Alzheimer Scotland West Highland have curated a playlist of popular Gaelic songs using Playlist for Life resources to share with residents living with dementia this World Gaelic Week.
Around 60% of people with dementia live at home in the community. Playlist for Life partners with local organisations to raise awareness of the power of music and establish Community Help Points, where those living with dementia, their families and carers can access resources and support to create a personalised playlist.
Working with rural community groups on the Isle of Skye, we identified a need for pre-made playlists that could be used to inspire others to build their own personalised playlist of songs based on their Scottish upbringing. Alzheimer Scotland West Highland are a Playlist for Life Help Point, sharing our resources with residents in Skye, Lochalsh, Wester Ross and Lochaber. Diane Smith, Community Activities Organiser at Alzheimer Scotland, has curated a playlist ahead of World Gaelic Week, collating popular Gaelic songs that will resonate with participants of their Intro to Gaelic session, and help evoke memories for those who grew up listening to Scottish music. Read her experience of finding the right music and hear the finished playlist below.
A lot of these songs take me back to being at local ceilidhs as a child
“I enjoyed making the Gaelic playlist, and could have added many more! I’m surprised by how many I have picked up from being around native Gaelic speakers. My family moved to the Highlands when I was seven years old and the language has been around me ever since. A lot of these songs take me back to being at local ceilidhs as a child and hearing them being sung with everyone in the community joining in.
Our school used to take part in the local Mod, which is a competitive festival of Gaelic song and poetry. Some of these songs such as Far am Bi mi Fhein (Wherever I am my hope will be) and Uibhist Mo Ghràidh (Uist my Dearest)I learned to sing for the Mod.
Others are songs that have been frequently requested and sung by people living with dementia who are native Gaelic speakers. Fàilt air Rubha Bhatairnis – a song about the Waternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye – was very popular with a lady I worked with for many years, who grew up and went to school in Waternish. Gaelic was her first language and she only learned to speak English when she went to school.
Many are songs that the people I have supported have asked for, so I believe it’s a good starting point and I am sure they would enjoy exploring other songs and albums by the artists on the playlist.”
Celebrate Gaelic Week with Alzheimer Scotland
Alzheimer Scotland West Highland run two online Gaelic sessions per month for Gaelic speakers living with dementia that is open to everyone, even if they don’t live in the Highlands. Upcoming sessions will be led by Margaret Nicolson – Mod Gold Medal winner and singer in Na h-Òganaich, and Anne Martin – a Gaelic singer from the north of Skye, both of whom feature on the Gaelic Week playlist. More information and booking details are available at the links below.
Diane is supporting World Gaelic Week to raise the profile of Gaelic and increase use of and interest in the language, music and culture. Find out more about Alzheimer Scotland’s Gaelic activities here.
Start a playlist
Do you want to start building a personalised playlist for someone living with dementia but don’t know where to start?
Whether you are building a playlist for yourself or someone you care for, visit our Spotify account to get access to over 250 playlists categorized by language, genres, locations, sport, religion and more!
Search ‘playlistdementia’ on the app or web player to get started, and check out our top tips for creating a Spotify playlist here.
Join our Help Point Network
Do you offer support to those living with dementia in your community? Become a Playlist for Life Help Point!
No matter how you reach your community, there are multiple ways for you to set up your Help Point and share the power of personal music. Gain greater knowledge of the power of music for dementia and how to connect with people living with dementia when you complete our Help Point training.
Each Help Point receives a resource pack containing:
- 50 Get started leaflets
- 50 Conversation starters
- 50 Create the soundtrack to your life workbooks