Dementia radio stations have become a lifeline for families caring for a loved one with dementia.
Free from the faff of old tapes, records or CDs, these radio stations provide constant hits from previous decades.
Music is such a simple way to bring joy to your loved one with dementia so they can turn back time and relive old memories through the power of music.
This blog will cover dementia radio stations and playlists and how they can bring joy to your loved one, whatever stage of the illness they are at.
Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:
- Music has been proven to be beneficial for people living with dementia, as it can help them connect with cherished memories.
- Listening to music from the past is a great way to liven the mood and can also be used as an activity amongst families.
- A number of free online dementia radio stations are available to help people access music from their generations.
- It’s possible to incorporate the use of dementia radio stations into the daily routine alongside activities.
What are dementia radio stations?
Dementia radio stations are specially curated platforms that provide music and programmes catered to people living with dementia.
They are often found as websites which can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
This means that they can be found on laptops and computers, smartphones, tablets and even on smart devices such as the Alexa or other voice-controlled assistants.
What are the benefits of dementia radio stations?
Music can be incredibly beneficial for those living with dementia.
It is often the last thing to be forgotten and can stimulate memories and reduce agitation.
Listening to music for dementia can help to stimulate, enliven and enable people to express themselves creatively through musical engagement.
They may be able to sing the words, hum the tune or tap to the rhythm with their hands or feet.
All of these actions are induced by the powerful relationship between music and memory.
In addition to this, music helps families interact with a loved one with dementia in many ways.
Families can enjoy singing together, listening to a favourite playlist and chatting about old times, or just use soothing sounds to help people relax and unwind.
What are the best dementia radio stations?
This free internet dementia radio station is part of the Music for Dementia campaign to make music accessible for everyone living with dementia.
Listeners can tune into m4d Radio’s mix station or one of their four other stations which feature music by the decade from the 1930s to the 1970s.
The website recommends stimulating musical memories by choosing the decade in which you or your loved one with dementia was born for all the favourite hits.
Stations include programming schedules designed to follow the rhythm of the day including sessions on Music to move to, Music from the Musicals, Soothing tracks for dementia sundowning and nighttime, and Featured Artists.
Talking sections of each programme are kept to a minimum while giving structure to the day’s schedule by highlighting upcoming and just-played tracks.
There are even more options on dementia TV channels.
Here’s what a typical day on the station looks like
|Midnight – 9am||Smooth Sounds|
|9-10am||Some foot-tapping tunes to start your day|
|10-11am||Music and Memories|
|11-12noon||Songs to sing along to|
|1-2pm||Music from the musicals|
|2-5pm||Music and memories|
|5-6pm||It’s time for a pre-dinner dance|
|6pm onwards||Smooth Sounds|
You can access the station through the website on a computer, mobile or via any internet-enabled device including smart TVs and Alexa.
Deepness Dementia Media is an organisation that provides radio shows, online education courses and many other projects in order to encourage living well with dementia.
It has less of a focus on music but provides inclusive programming including interviews with people receiving dementia care, family members and professionals and the cognitively impaired from all communities.
These can include topics such as human rights, book club, poetry, music such as traditional, classic, rock ‘n’ roll, country, rock, jazz and pop, right up to the present day.
Expect shows such as Deepness Dementia News & Poetry, Relaxation Start of the Week, 1 in 100/6000 – 100 Voices of Dementia and The Country Show.
You can access the Deepness Dementia Radio online to listen live or just ask your Alexa device ‘Alexa Start Deepness Radio’.
Sound Memories Radio is a dementia-friendly life story & nature project working closely with older people, their families, carers and communities.
They produce client-led memory resources, such as sound clips and videos which empower people living with dementia by celebrating life and inspiring a more connected sense of self.
Over the past eight years, they have become a multi-award-winning project, shaped by a growing body of listeners and older people who kindly volunteer their stories.
Sound Memories is also available in Welsh language.
Based on evidence that shows how music can help people living with dementia to feel and live better, the BBC have created their own music memories dementia radio station.
The Memory Radio has old archive playlists from 1940s until 1990s of all the best hits.
There are also many playlists that focus on regional music from certain decades as well as Welsh, Scottish and Irish language music.
The site also offers the option to create an interactive playlist of favourite hits from certain genres or decades.
It allows you to choose your genre, artists and many other musical filters to curate your own dementia radio playlist.
How to create a routine with dementia radio stations
Dementia radio stations can be incorporated into the daily routine for your loved one with dementia.
If you’re using M4D Radio you could help your loved one choose a programme that they like, for example ‘Songs to sing along to’ and make it a feature of their daily routine.
Another day, you might want to try a different programme that features music from their favourite genre or musical decade.
It’s possible to use music as a signal for certain daily activities, for example, while cooking, getting ready for the day or completing physio exercises.
However, it is important to avoid overstimulation which could lead to agitation or increased confusion if there are too many noises that make it difficult to understand or hear instructions.
Our new guide on sensory stimulation should be a help on that front.
Good luck finding the right dementia radio station for your loved one.
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