Everyone has a song that takes them back to a person, place or time, cheers them up or calms them down. Listening to such personally meaningful music can have powerful benefits for those living with dementia.

The Playlist for Life study is looking at these benefits and identifying the effects they can have on people living with dementia. We caught up with Chief Investigator Dr. Gianna Cassidy to find out more.

What are the main aims of the study?

This study explores the impact of listening to personally meaningful music on the wellbeing of those living with dementia. We’ll look at the music participants choose to build their playlist for life, exploring how it makes them feel and when they might choose to listen to it. We’ll also look at participant wellbeing, enjoyment and interest over time.Logo

What does it involve for a participant?

In the comfort of their own home, participants will create their ‘Playlist for Life’, identifying their personally meaningful music by answering simple questions which act as prompts. Over the 10 weeks, participants will continue to grow their ‘Playlist for Life by adding new songs and listening to their playlist whenever they choose, perhaps to reminisce, relax or accompany a meal. Each time you add music to your ‘playlist for life’ we will ask you how it makes you feel and when you might choose to listen to it. At week 1, 6 and 12 participants will also be asked to fill out some questionnaires.

How long is the study for?

The study lasts for 10 weeks. Participants can use the app daily and as often as they wish, but we recommend using it at least twice a week for about 30 minutes each time. The larger questionnaires are three times during the study should take no longer than 20 minutes. Overall, we would hope that participants would be able to contribute a minimum of 4.5 to 5 hours to the research each month.

Dr. Gianna Cassidy, Chief Investigator of the Playlist for Life study

Dr. Gianna Cassidy, Chief Investigator of the Playlist for Life study

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

We hope that participants experience wellbeing benefits of identifying and listening to their ‘Playlist for Life’. We also aim to inform optimal future design and research of digital technologies as a vehicle for the powerful benefits of music in dementia.

Where is the study based?

This is an online study so people from all over the UK can take part without having to travel anywhere. The researchers are based at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Who are you looking to take part?

We are looking for people with dementia and carers of people with dementia who have access to an iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini or iPhone to take part. People with dementia can take part independently or with a carer.

Why are you interested in dementia research?

As a Music Psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, researching the powerful benefits of music for wellbeing has been my focus for many years. However, personal experience of dementia led me to search for effective tools to bring these benefits into the home. We aim to bring the powerful benefits of personally meaningful music to all those living with dementia. By helping you identify, organise and listen to your personally meaningful, our app aims to help you benefit from engaging with the music that is meaningful to you.


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You can see if you are eligible for this study, as well as others around the nation, by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?