Sally Magnusson To Be Guest Speaker At Healthcare Conference

Broadcaster Sally Magnusson will discuss the power of personalised music for people with dementia when she speaks at a collaborative healthcare event later this month.

The Reporting Scotland anchor founded the charity Playlist for Life following her own experiences of living with her late mother’s dementia, where she noted a remarkable upturn in spirit and engagement when songs that had been meaningful in her life were sung with her.

She will speak on behalf of the charity at the Person-Centred Health and Care Collaborative Learning Session – an event run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), aimed at improving health and care services by focussing on people, their families and carers.

Sally will also talk about Where Memories Go, her moving memoir of her mother’s long struggle with the condition. She will be joined by her charity colleague, Andy Lowndes, mental health nursing lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Playlist for Life is working on a pilot training project in Dunfermline, funded by the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, and with Alzheimer Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University and other academic partners to research the clinical, therapeutic and economic value of offering personal music on iPods to people with dementia in different care settings.

The collaborative project will connect experts in different relevant disciplines and ultimately aims to enable policy-makers to assess the suitability of rolling the practice out across the UK.

Sally founded Playlist for Life in 2013 after being impressed by the effect specific songs had on her mother, Mamie, and after researching the evidence for her memoir which was published in February this year.

The charity aims to encourage people to setup and use playlists of music that are personally meaningful to dementia patients, bringing back memories from their life and sparking long periods of engagement and interaction.

Sally and her colleagues believe the personal memories of the music bring a sense of safeness and belonging to the patient who becomes more familiar with the world around them.

They also point towards the benefits for carers, friends and family, saying that compiling a playlist of a person’s life helps to get to know them better, while sharing it makes conversation and interaction easier.

The Playlist for Life website,, gives greater detail and straightforward advice to help even the biggest technophobe get started on a playlist for their loved one.

Sally Magnusson said: “Reconnecting people with dementia to both themselves and their loved ones through personal music is the ultimate in person-centred care – which is why I’m happy to be talking about Playlist for Life at the conference.”

The Person-Centred Health and Care Collaborative Learning Session takes place in the SECC, Glasgow, on 27-28 May and is free to attend for invited delegates from across Scotland.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland is a health body created by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 with the key responsibility to help NHS Scotland and independent healthcare providers deliver high quality, evidence-based, safe, effective and person-centred care; and to scrutinise services to provide public assurance about the quality and safety of that care.

Sally Magnuson’s Personal Playlist

1.       Clarinet Concerto In A Major – Mozart
The most ravishing music on earth. Makes me think of decades of not quite learning to play the clarinet.

2.       The Pearl Fishers’ Duet – Bizet, Sung By Jussi Bjorling And Robert Merrill
My father and grandfather used to sing it together at the piano.

3.       I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You From Evita
Seduction and courtship.

4.       Two Sleepy People – Peter Skellern
Exhausted years of early marriage, all the kids in bed at last, dancing half asleep in each other’s arms.

5.       Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat From Guys And Dolls
Hours spent listening to a teenage son practising for the part of Nicely Nicely Johnson. Just one boat-rocking line and I’m back there.