LONDON (October 25, 2022)—For those living with dementia, nostalgic music can be a powerful way to trigger positive feelings and reconnect with loved ones. 

With over 55 million people currently living with dementia worldwide, experts at Lottie analyzed the musical attributes of 600 different songs in order to create a playlist which would benefit anyone experiencing symptoms of dementia. By looking into a variety of factors, the experts created two playlists, one calming and one upbeat.
The ultimate upbeat dementia playlist 

Lottie found that the No. 1 upbeat song for those with dementia is “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton. With exceptional scores for tempo, energy, and lyrics, it is no surprise that the country track receives a final score of 8.12/10. It has been found that stimulating music like this can inspire movement for those living with dementia and encourage gentle exercise.

In second place is “Pistol Packin’ Mama” by Al Dexter (7.90/10). Released in 1943, this fellow country singer obtained a high rank mainly due to the song’s excellent scores for tempo (9.83/10) and positivity (10/10).

“Blue Monday” by New Order ranks third. Scoring a danceability rating of 7.09/10 and a positivity rating of 7.90/10, this disco sensation earns a final score of 7.45/10. This electronic track ranks second due to its repetitive nature which has the potential to evoke emotion, and with it, memories. 

Lottie found that the No. 1 calming song for those with dementia is “Buttons and Bows” by Dinah Shore, achieving a final score of 8.79/10. With its stellar scores for tempo, lyrics and positivity, it has been found that light tones of this song can provide the perfect antidote in stressful times. 

In second position is “Blowin’ In The Wind” by Bob Dylan, released in 1963. With a final score of 8.25/10, this folk ballad was ranked 14th by Rolling Stone in their 500 greatest songs of all time. Originally released in 1963, this song may remind those living with dementia of happy memories, such as their first kiss, teenage years, family parties and loved ones.

“Marie” by Tommy Dorsey ranks in third position, with a final score of 8.20/10. The trombonist dubbed ‘the sentimental gentleman of swing’ recorded excellent scores for positivity (7.74/10) and lyrics (8.16/10). 

 “There’s lots of health and wellbeing benefits to music - especially for those living with dementia. Listening and engaging with music can help someone living with dementia to communicate, stay connected to others and spark memories of joy and happiness,” Will Donnelly, care expert and co-founder of Lottie, said.

“Previous research has found that music can help reduce anxiety, maintain speech and express their emotions and enhance the overall wellbeing of someone living with dementia. Many care homes across the country provide music therapy—organized activities that involve music that both care home residents and carers enjoy,” he continued.

Find the full study here.

The full upbeat Spotify playlist of the top 20 songs can be viewed here.

The full calming Spotify playlist of the top 20 songs can be viewed here.