We Know Music is Good for Dementia: Here’s our Sample Playlist

Music has all sorts of wild effects on the brain and it can be a true wonder to explore, particularly in regards to those in the later stages of dementia. At Barchester, we support the belief that music can be helped to boost memory as well as help isolated people express internal experiences, ultimately improving the quality of life for those with neurological conditions. We believe this so much so, in fact, that we host music therapy in a number of our care homes, so that the power of music can be harnessed to improve the quality of life of our residents.

For those a little skeptical about the power of music among those with dementia or other neurological diseases, we’ve comprised a list of five songs we believe can help someone living with dementia to manage their symptoms, strengthen relationships with loved ones and restore a sense of self. While a person’s playlist should be as individual as they are, we’ve given the explanation as to why each tune has been picked, which will hopefully motivate you in creating the perfect playlist for your loved ones.

Singing in the Rain

The first of the songs on our list is ‘Singing in the Rain’, most notably sung by Gene Kelly and offering the centerpiece in the musical of the same name. The song is perfect – as iconic as it is classic with a feel-good vibe. Musicals are great for happy-go-lucky or upbeat songs, so if your loved on responds well to it why not try The Sound of Music, When You Wish Upon a Star and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.   

What a Wonderful World

Sung by a variety of people over the years, What a Wonderful World is renowned worldwide that deserves its place on the list purely due to its status as one of the most recognisable songs in the English language. The song was originally written and performed in 1967 and  surged to popularity. It is ideal to play to a loved one if it already has a place in their heart.


If you’re trying to take a loved one on a trip down memory lane, you simply must include The Beatles. Whilst Yesterday was our pick, another great song for anyone suffering from a neurological illness is ‘I Want to Hold your Hand’, offering repetitive lyrics with a simple message about love.

Stand By Me

Another with simple lyrics and another incredibly recognisable one, Stand By Me was originally performed by Ben E. King in 1960 and is one of the most broadcast song of the 20th century, with over 400 covers being recorded since its release.

You Make Me Feel So Young

Where would this list be without a bit of Frank Sinatra. ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ does what it says on the tin, with a perfect 4/4 rhythm allowing for a foxtrot as well as wonderful lyrics that can take anyone back to 1956. Sinatra’s voice is great at bringing about an emotional sense of nostalgia and can be a great way to reintroduce your parents or grandparents to some of the music they used to listen to.

If someone you know is living with dementia, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure they are looked after in an environment with comfortable surroundings, hospitality and high-quality care. Our staff can help. At Barchester we have a unique approach to dementia care which sets up apart in the sector. Our residents and their families expect great service and we have a dedicated team to continually improve the life of those in our care. Check out some of our care homes near me or contact us to find out more.