Free radio service m4d Radio keeps the tunes flowing
Social-distancing and isolation are challenging, especially for people living with dementia. Losing the chance to connect with others during a time of heightened anxiety because of COVID-19 is particularly difficult.
To help address this, Music for Dementia, a national campaign based in the U.K. to make music available for people living with dementia, launched m4d Radio in June. Led by The Utley Foundation, a private charitable trust also based in the U.K., the campaign is a direct and positive response to the foundation’s Commission report on Dementia and Music, which highlights the connection between access to music and quality of life.
“There was a real need to keep the music flowing,” says Grace Meadows, programme director for Music for
Dementia. “When we went into lockdown, musicians and music therapists couldn’t go into care settings and we started to notice this was having an instant and very significant impact on people.”
The free, 24-hour, web-based, ad-free radio service is a response to the reduced access to in-person music programs for people living with dementia. It is made up of five stations — The 30’s and 40’s, The 1950’s, The 1960’s, The 1970’s and The m4d Mix — that have been carefully curated based on focus-group findings to include music that is attuned to the different moments that happen during the day.
For example, both gentle and energizing songs can help set the tone for the morning, and soothing music works for the mid-afternoon when sundowning may occur. Some of the music was even selected because it is suitable for the vocal range of an older adult to sing along with.
Meadows says the benefits of music have been observed in the realms of psychological health, physical health, self-expression and all-important social connection. Music has the ability to affect our state of mind and emotions, it makes us dance and sing, and lets us communicate wordlessly.
“I think about music being a kind of bridge that enables those of us without dementia to go into the world of those with dementia. We’re not asking them to come back into our world, it allows us to visit them in their world, so to speak,” says Meadows.
But it’s not just people living with dementia who benefit from sharing music. Meadows says she’s heard from care partners that they see people with dementia more fully when they are enjoying music together.
“Ultimately it brings people together in the here and now,” she says. [ ]
m4d Radio was heard by 30,000 listeners across 15,000 devices in its first month of broadcast. Listen for yourself at m4dradio.com
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