Playlist for Life was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, Mamie Baird Magnusson.

When Mamie developed dementia, Sally and her sisters managed to nurse and care for her at home until she died. During that time, the family discovered that no matter how lost their mum became in the disease, they could still reach her with the songs and music that had been part of her life and their family life together.

When Mamie heard music she loved - childhood lullabies, Scottish folk songs sung at family occasions, hymns, rhymes - she could still remember the words, sing a melody and make harmonies. Even when she could no longer hold a conversation, music was a lifeline for Mamie and her family. 

After Mamie died, Sally wrote a book called Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything. In the book, Sally wanted to find out if her mum was unique in responding to music in this dramatic way or if there actually was a link between music and memory.

While writing the book, Sally discovered Music and Memory, an American charity, which was already delivering personal music on iPods to people in care homes with incredibly positive results. In their short film, Alive Inside, Henry, an African American man with advanced dementia, is transformed when he hears the music from his youth.

Sally was impressed by the work of Music & Memory and wondered if anyone was doing this type of work in the UK. With no similar approaches being developed in the UK, Sally decided to pioneer this work herself.

So, along with two other founding Trustees - Andy Lowndes, a psychiatric nurse and former academic at Glasgow Caledonian University, and Dr Gianna Cassidy, a leading music psychologist also at Glasgow Caledonian University - Playlist for Life was born.

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