Music Set To Bring Comfort To Welsh Speakers Living With Dementia

Pictured: Residents interacting as Rhys Meirion performers at Cartref Annwyl Fan Care Home in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK on Friday 19 July 2019

Welsh speakers living with dementia can now enjoy songs from their past in Welsh, thanks to a Bangor University and Merched y Wawr initiative supported by the Welsh Government to help care givers across Wales improve their quality of life.

Music is said to help soothe, stimulate and bring to mind long-forgotten memories. As part of the initiative, care homes across Wales are to be provided with a new CD and playlist of specially curated Welsh language music.

According to researchers from Bangor University, music can ease depression and apathy and contribute to an improved quality of life for individuals living with dementia. Although many care givers recognise this, the majority of musical activities at care homes take place in the English language, which can result in lost opportunities for residents with strong memories linked to Welsh language music.

Today (Friday 19th July), care home residents in Betws, near Ammanford were the first to re-listen to songs from their past, as the Cân y Gân CD was launched during a special event attended by the Welsh Government’s Minister for the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan. The collection of songs on the 20-track disk are the result of work by Music Graduate Alister O’Mahoney as part of his internship with Dr Catrin Hedd Jones.

One thousand copies of the CD, which also features artwork by Phil Thompson from Rhuthin who lives with dementia, will now be made available to care givers across the country through Merched y Wawr and available for download from

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said:

“I welcome this valuable resource which will help Welsh speakers with dementia feel at ease. Through our More than just words framework the Welsh Government recognises the importance of providing health and social care services in Welsh. Care and language go hand in hand and communicating with people in their first language is a key component in the delivery of quality care.”