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.

A new partnership with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

We're working with Scotland's Fire and Rescue Service to support people living with dementia

What’s the connection between Playlist for Life, a music and dementia charity, and the world’s fourth largest fire and rescue service?

Our new partners at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service do a huge amount to keep us all safe, and this includes their commitment to helping people living with dementia. From their Home Fire Safety Visits to 70,000 homes across Scotland each year, to their dementia training for fire and rescue staff, their vital community work makes them a perfect partner for Playlist for Life.

Read on to find out more about the bespoke training we’re providing to SFRS’ Community Action Team on the power of personalised playlists for people living with dementia. 

Playlist for Life's Head of Communities, Michael Timmons, meets with Cathy Barlow, Deputy Head Prevention and Protection Function at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. They are joined by David Quinn (Firefighter), Elizabeth Martinus (Community Firefighter) and Louise Dalton (Community Safety Advocate)

Sharing the power of personalised playlists

Music that is personally meaningful can be a lifeline for people living with dementia. The ‘Music Detective’ training we provide at Playlist for Life is based on more than two decades of research showing that ‘personal music’ – the specific tunes attached to someone’s emotions that can spark memories – can help those living with dementia by alleviating stress, managing symptoms and strengthening relationships with family members and carers. 

Working with SFRS

Scottish Fire and Rescue staff are being trained to become ‘Music Detectives’ to support people living with dementia. Our new partnership seeks to strengthen SFRS’ existing services for people living with dementia, including Home Fire Safety Visits to 70,000 homes across Scotland each year, which create opportunities to engage with local communities and keep people safe within their homes. We have so far delivered training sessions aimed at their whole workforce, plus specific training for community safety staff. Further sessions are to be delivered for staff who care for a friend or family member living with dementia.

Earlier this year the SFRS joined emergency service partners to resign the Dementia Pledge, showing their ongoing support to communities and workforce affected by dementia.

Michelle Armstrong-Surgenor, Executive Director at Playlist for Life, said:

“Personalised playlists are an effective and accessible tool for anyone living with dementia, helping to ease anxiety, strengthen relationships with families and carers and can even reduce medication in some instances. A personalised playlist tells the story of someone’s life through music and is a proven non-pharmacological intervention that can increase alertness, reduce stress and distress and can lead to a reduction in medication and wandering.”

“We want everyone affected by dementia to know how to build a personalised playlist and benefit from the power of music, which is why we’re delighted to partner with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Their community safety team provide vital services to people living with dementia, including Fire Safety Visits directly to people’s homes, reaching a large portion of the two thirds of people with dementia in Scotland who live at home. We look forward to supporting many more families affected by dementia through our work with SFRS.”

Cathy Barlow, Deputy Head Prevention and Protection Function at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“The SFRS recognises how important it is that we support people living with dementia and their families. We are committed to this work, having signed up to the Emergency Services Dementia pledge and facilitating dementia training sessions for our staff.”

“Playlist for Life are an exciting new partner for us. Through the delivery of Home Fire Safety Visits across the country, our community safety staff can help to promote their work and signpost to the charity, helping those living with dementia to build a personal playlist.”

“Feedback from our initial training sessions has been fantastic from both staff working in the community and those who have family members living with dementia. Playlist for Life have provided us with a suite of resources for staff development and we are excited to grow the partnership; promoting the powerful benefits of music to help reduce anxiety, and supporting day-to-day tasks which in turn can help individuals live safer within their own homes.”

Audrey Robertson, Community Safety Advocate at SFRS, said:

“Even though we previously had a brief insight into Playlist for life, the [training] event gave us the opportunity to understand the benefits of music to individuals. It’s good to be able to tell friends and family of people we visit during the course of our work that things like this are available, that we’ve seen that it does work and that free webinars and support is available to anyone who wants to get more information.”

“Since the event I have started my own playlist for my grandmother who’s in a care home with dementia. I‘ve no doubt that this will help us regain a connection and improve communication when visiting and can’t wait to see the smile on her face.”

If you are one of the 90,000 people in Scotland living with dementia, or you are a friend, relative or neighbour, call SFRS for a free Home Fire Safety Visit on 0800 0731 999.

Read: Supporting Fire Safety in the Home — A Carers Guide

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Find out more about Playlist for Life’s training on our dedicated training platform.

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