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Music and Dementia

There has been a huge amount of noise (pardon the pun) in the press in recent weeks discussing music and the impact it can have on people with dementia.

We have music playing throughout the day at Ivy House and while the guests are at the Ivy Hotel too. When the windows are open at Ivy House it drifts down Hartfield Road and neighbours have commented – in a positive way! If you hear a song you know and like your body releases positive endorphins.

At Ivy everyone has an influence on the genre of music that we listen to and we don’t have the same music playing throughout the house - simply because some like classical music, some like rock and roll others war time songs and so on. Every one of us is unique and what is right for one isn’t right for another. One size doesn’t fit all.

None of us have the same musical tastes, we can agree on artists, but no one person is exactly the same in their taste because of their own personal experiences!


Music is all around us, it has been a part of us from when we were in the womb. It straddles generations and can shift a mood. It is there to enjoy whatever the weather. Use it to strengthen you.

  • Try listening to albums rather than the radio which will interrupt the music flow with introduction to musical pieces, adverts, news and travel bulletins.

  • Just because you like having Classic FM on doesn’t mean your loved one does.

  • Just because you shared a type of music historically doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dig deeper into your loved one’s past and find the music that they listened to in their teens and 20’s.

  • Using music you can unleash and unpick memories from a world they frequent.

  • Music can offer huge enjoyment.

We passionately believe in the positive impact of music, which is why we host a weekly Sing and Swing each Friday at 2pm and have introduced a second opportunity to Sing and Swing at our Monthly Dementia Support Group which takes place on the first Saturday of the month.

The brilliant Keith Richards wrote

“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

And to quote Tolstoy

“Music is the shorthand of emotion.”

Hear hear.

We hope, to have inspired you to review the music played in your home and if you need to make some tweaks to pop into your local charity shop and have a look through the CD collection – it might be the best thing you do this week!

If you don’t know where to start Ivy House is working with the charity ‘Playlist for Life’ and will be a ‘help point’, to support you finding the right music and then creating a playlist yourself! To learn more about the days and time you can benefit from this resource visit our website at


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