Introduction: About Playlist for Life

Everyone should have a playlist 

Playlist for Life is a charity founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, Mamie, who had dementia. 

We want everyone with dementia to have a unique, personal playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them to know how to use it. 

Building a personal playlist means exploring someone’s life story to gather the tunes that are most deeply attached to memories and emotions. 

Have you ever wondered how music is able to conjure memories of the people and places of your past? Why it can give you that flashback feeling?

As we go through life, the music we love becomes neurologically intertwined with the most noteworthy people, places and memories of our lives, forming a ‘neural tapestry’. This ‘neural tapestry’ is why songs linked to autobiographical memories induce that flashback feeling. 

For a person with dementia, beloved music may not trigger any specific memories, but it can still help them more easily navigate their confusing and unfamiliar surroundings. 

We aim to raise awareness of the power of playlists and want to grow our network of Playlist for Life community Help Points across the UK. Together we can change lives. 


Think of a song that would be on your own playlist. What happy memories are associated with this song, what places or people come to mind? 

Your playlist is as unique as you are. This may include:

  • your first record
  • nursery rhymes
  • first dance song at a wedding
  • TV Themes and advertising jingles
  • Religious songs
  • songs link to hobbies, interests or where you are from

Music is everywhere and part of all our lives, interconnected with our memories.