The Music Site That’s Helping Trigger Memories For People With Dementia

Listening to the songs you grew up with, can evoke some strong memories -- and the effect is especially powerful for those living with dementia.

Now, a new BBC website seeks to help by connecting dementia patients with the songs they love -- in a bid to trigger recollections.

A psychological phenomenon known as the "memory bump" means the music we hear between the ages of 10 and 30, carries more emotional resonance than any other.

The use of music is increasingly being used in dementia care as it has been shown to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot.

BBC Music Memories is inspired by a growing body of research which has proven the beneficial effects of music in helping those with dementia.

It features more than 1800 audio clips of classical music, pop music and TV theme tunes in a simple, easy to use interface.

IMAGE: Getty Images

Dementia patients can jam along to tracks from the last one hundred years from Elvis Presley to Whitney Houston, right up to Ed Sheeren and Nicki Minaj.

READ MORE: Industry In Crisis: Australia's Elderly Deserve Better

Gary Lightbody – the guitarist from Snow Patrol – is an ambassador for the project and commented on how music can make a powerful impact on someone for life.

“Music changed my life,” he said.

“It is the most powerful international language,” he added. “It can break you and mend you sometimes in the span of a single song.”

Lightbody also has a very personal reason for supporting BBC Music – his father lives with dementia.

“My dad has dementia and anything that throws a light on the disease and helps in any way to reconnect people with their lost memories is something I want to be involved in,” said the musician.

"The songs of my dad's youth would be from the '50s, and when something comes on from that period he perks up a hell of a lot," he told the BBC.

"You put on some Frank Sinatra and he loves it."

The BBC's Rebecca Sandiford said the site is all about harnessing the "power of music".

"BBC Music Memories is designed to tap into that power to help those with dementia reconnect with the music they have loved, share their memories, and help us discover the nation's favourite music memories," Sandiford said .

One million Brits are expected to have dementia by 2025, back home rates are also growing. Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians.

You can check out the BBC Music Memories site here.

Featured Image: Supplied