Radio station providing 'happier times' for people with dementia now has broadcast licence

ITV Granada Reports journalist Lucille Brobbey visits the station to find out how they are dementia friendly.

A radio station that hopes to take people living with dementia back to the "happier times in their lives" through music, has been given a community radio licence by OFCOM.

Merseyside Dementia Friendly Radio can broadcast on DAB for the first since its internet launch in 2020, becoming the first dementia-friendly Digital Audio Broadcasting station in the UK.

Founder, Nat Gavin believes there was a lack of dementia friendly radio spaces for people living with the disease.

He said: "I had some dementia in the family for a few generations and so there was a need for it, there was a lack of anything dementia friendly in the radio space.

"Most of what we do is provide reminiscent resources for people, so things that can illicit nostalgia, can take people back to happier times in their lives, so it's music from certain eras.

"We tend to stick to music from the 40s to the 80s, because that will often be the time in people's lives when they've made the strongest connection to music."

A crowdfunder page has raised more than £2,500 to buy new radio equipment for the transition. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The station also provides reality orientation for listeners, which is a technique that integrates time and day into conversation with people who have dementia.

Nat added: "We try and make it so that when we're speaking to people through the broadcast, it is a bit more conversation and friendly rather than talking at them and telling them what to do, we try to make it more gentle.

"When people are leaving our radio station on for loved ones, they're trusting us to sit with them and to be alone with them, so we like to be friendly company for them.

"It can often make people feel like they're cared for or that they have company when there's a friendly voice."

To be more accessible to dementia listeners, the station does not include adverts in their content. A crowdfunder page has been created to raise money for the equipment needed for the transition to broadcast. More than £2,500 has been raised so far.

Rebecca Anderson, Managing Director at Remember Me, a residential that provides dementia care in Liverpool, says the station is beneficial to residents.

Remember Me residents listen to the radio station. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

She said: "Music in general just makes everyone happier, it takes everyone back so it's nostalgic for them.

"It can settle them down and they're getting up and dancing to certain ones as well, so it just makes everyone happy - it keeps the day really fun."

Cynthia, resident at Remember Me, said: "Well It's relaxing isn't it, and I enjoy the music and then you hear them again you know, years later... it's a lovely feeling."

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