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Could music-streaming services be free for people with dementia?


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A new website has launched in the UK called Music for Dementia 2020, and it’s part of a campaign to make music “available for everyone living with dementia by 2020”. This is based on research suggesting that music therapy can “reduce the often-distressing symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, apathy and anxiety”, but also the awareness that a lot of the elderly people living with dementia don’t have access to music easily.

One of the campaign’s ambassadors, broadcaster Lauren Laverne, has called for music-streaming services to take a role in this. “Music should be made free for everyone living with dementia,” she told newspaper the Mirror. “This is a generation who paid their music taxes by buying records and CDs and made the music industry what it is today. We’d love to see streaming services make music free for everyone living with dementia.”

There would be some hurdles here: for example how the registration process would work to ensure people being signed up do have dementia, without infringing their privacy or distressing their carers. But for any streaming service thinking about their place in society, this initiative is worth investigating to see what’s possible – and not just in the UK.

Stuart Dredge

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