Specialist radio station m4d Radio is celebrating its first anniversary with a stellar list of celebrities and personalities contributing individual playlists for a week’s schedule of programming on the dementia-focused music station.
Each personal playlist has been chosen as a combination of favourite, joyous songs, and personal music that is significant to the individual and their relative living with dementia. Each day between 28 June and 3 July listeners can tune-in to enjoy the special programmes via m4dradio.com or Alexa.
Former ‘Strictly’ judge Len Goodman, Coronation Street stars Shobna Gulati and Jennie McAlpine, broadcaster Dan Walker, and actresses Phyllis Logan, Angela Lonsdale, Vicky McClure and Julie Hesmonhalgh have all contributed their favourite tunes and messages in support.
Grace Meadows, Campaign Director for Music for Dementia says: “It is noticeable how dementia has impacted the lives of many people including these celebrities, which reflects the situation in society as a whole. We’re grateful that they’re willing to share their experiences with our audience of carers and people living with dementia. Music has a powerful and unique role to play in dementia care and can enliven, stimulate and enable people to express themselves. It’s easy to see from looking at these playlists how some of these individual songs can uplift the spirits, calm someone if they are agitated, and use past memories to connect in the here and now.”
Actress, presenter and author of ‘Remember Me?’ Shobna Gulati says about her playlist: “I chose these songs because they were firm favourites of my mother Asha, and I like to remember her when I hear them too. We are very musical, and our family home was called Geetangali – the place of songs and poetry – because in the past we all loved to sing and play music together. My mum would sing along very occasionally – she insisted she was tone deaf, but despite this, loved to be involved.
“Through her journey with dementia, and as she lost her memory, her eyes would begin to sparkle, and a wide smile would creep across her face when she heard these songs and she’d begin to dance and sing; she would be once again joyously transported to those times and places and faces she remembered.”
M4d Radio was launched in June 2020 by Music for Dementia specifically for people living with dementia and their carers. A direct response to the cessation of live music performances and isolation due to the pandemic, it offers era-specific music 24/7 straight to people’s homes. It has won two care industry awards and multiple plaudits from listeners.
In addition to the playlists, the Music for Dementia and m4d Radio team have created a handy ‘5 ways to use music’ guide with how-to tips especially for carers. This is available on the m4d Radio website’s information page, ready to download and print off for easy reference, together with the full playlists from each celebrity.
The guide is written by experts in their fields or experts by experience, such as Music for Dementia’s Director, Grace Meadows, Dame Arlene Phillips and Neuroscientists Dr Sophie Scott and Catherine Loveday. It explains how listeners and carers can use music to change mood, physically connect, create conversation, encourage exercise and movement, and make new memories. Practical tips include information on volume and hearing, timing, personal care and routine.
Stacey McCann, Chief Operating Officer at dementia care village provider, Belong says:
“The impact of music for people living with dementia is immense, often transporting people to another time, place or emotional state, helping to unlock memories and stimulate conversations that increase our understanding of residents. It also makes people more animated and interactive; those who struggle with verbal communication can still tap their feet, sing and dance for example. We aim to bring our villages alive with music as much as possible, working with a range of partnerships to facilitate live concerts, accessing resources such as m4d Radio, and harnessing technology such as Amazon Alexa’s and iPads to ensure residents’ personalised playlists are easily accessible.”
A downloadable activity sheet for the week is available, based on the 5 ways to use music, to help carers start to incorporate this versatile art into every day, harnessing the power of music to enhance the lives of those they care for.
In support of the week’s activities Dame Esther Rantzen said:
“Music evokes memories and emotions with a unique power. Hearing a song we love lifts our spirits no matter how old we are, even when we are facing the challenges of illness and disability. This campaign reminds us all to share music with each other whether we are carers or cared for, so that we can create new happy memories together.”
The anniversary celebrations will feature a ‘dedication hour for carers’ on Saturday 3 July with messages of heartfelt thanks and support from individual listeners especially for those that care for them. Given the challenges of the last year on the care community, this dedication hour will be particularly emotional and pertinent.