Image of elderly woman experiencing pleasure listening to headphones

A personalised music program is being trialled by the Geraldton Rotary Club in Western Australia to support people living with dementia. The program began in December 2018 when 400 headsets were distributed. This number was for each member of the community diagnosed with dementia.

The headsets are loaded with individually chosen playlists of the user's music  and cost less than $50 each. The aim is to stimulate memory, quieten the mind and encourage conversation through the familiar song selection.

For some people a radio or CD player were playing from early morning until late at night, or if they were travelling there was music playing. These senarios can be revisited with the headsets loaded with memorable songs and the question asked "Do you remember when we were at such and such a place?" for example. 

The original idea came to Geoff Wood, the Geraldton Rotary Club president when he had watched ABC Catalyst's special Music on the Brain. He says music is a very powerful part of many people's lives and there is the popular adage that "With the right music, you either forget everything or you remember everything." 

By collaborating with an electronic supplier the cost of the headset with the memory card has meant they are accessible to everyone and could become cheaper in the future. 

The growing number of people with dementia will mean this concept is going to be in greater demand as the baby boomers move into this age range. 

For more information on the personalised headsets see Rotary Club of Geraldton's dementia music trials

Information sourced from ABC News