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Using Service Design, music and technology to help revolutionise dementia care


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Using Service Design, music and technology to help revolutionise dementia care

Julian Lomas

Since August 2018, I have had the pleasure of supporting Music for My Mind, an innovative charity aiming to promote and enable the take up of personalised music to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living with dementia, their relatives and carers.

For many years, it’s been known that familiar music has a powerful effect on people. Music for My Mind wants to enable system-wide adoption of music as an affordable therapy for people coping with dementia, by gathering scientific evidence of the beneficial effects of personalised playlists.

A key challenge in realising this ambition is to work out how personalised playlists can be created quickly for people who are living with dementia. Those playlists need to focus on music that the person will remember when they hear it but that they usually can’t initially identify for themselves. This can take weeks or months to do. Music for My Mind’s aim is to use technology to enable this to be done in around an hour.

A second key challenge is how can personalised music be most effectively delivered in dementia care settings (where it can be noisy, people are busy and small objects, such as smart phones, often go missing).

In September 2018 I was privileged to participate in an exciting, creative Service Design workshop run by Andreas Conradi and Ivan Entchevitch, to explore how Music for My Mind can harness technology to overcome these challenges. Andreas and Ivan have recently published a case study from this workshop centred on using Service Design to drive innovation in this area, which intersects the not-for-profit, public health, public policy and technology sectors. I commend the case study to anyone interested in Service Design or music and dementia.