Spanish project combines music and intergenerational exchange for the well-being of older people with dementia

Music has extraordinary benefits for the emotional well-being of people, including people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Relistening to songs that have been important throughout life has positive effects on the quality of life of people with cognitive impairment, connecting them with their past to relive sensations that seemed forgotten.

Highlighting the beneficial effects of music and intergenerational relationships is one of the objectives of the Life Soundtrack, la música de mi vida in Spain, the music of my life. An initiative of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, with the collaboration of the Music Technology Group (MTG) of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), and with the support of the “la Caixa” Foundation.

The project involved fourth-year secondary school pupils from the L’Ateneu and El Brot schools in Sant Joan Despí, and older people with cognitive impairment from the SOPHOS residential centre in the same town. End of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, face-to-face sessions of mutual knowledge were organised where the pupils could gather the necessary information to create personalised playlists with songs that were significant in the life of each of the people affected. This initiative ended in early October 2020 with a symbolic act of handing over the soundtracks to the participants.

As Nina Gramunt, technical director of the social and outreach area of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, explains, “Life Soundtrack is an experience that enables intergenerational relationships between older people with cognitive impairment and young boys and girls, teenagers, within the framework of community service learning. This project allows us to highlight the positive effects of music, raise awareness among young people about realities that may be distant to them, and encourage social and professional vocations”.

Watch this video presenting the project (in Spanish)

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