Sentimental audio memories for dementia care

Memory loss is a defining characteristic of dementia which affects about 850,000 people in the UK. This project explores a novel approach to supporting autobiographical memory through sounds having personal sentimental value to the listener.

Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effect of music therapy on people with dementia, for reducing anxiety, increasing wellbeing and stimulating memories. In this project we aim to explore the role of sentimental sound recordings in dementia care for producing similar effects. Working with families and people with dementia we will discuss the role of sound in emotion and memory, before assembling customised sound collections for playback and discussion. The Sentimental Audio Memories system from the Making Sense of Sounds project will be used in some of these discussions as a possible platform for future support of sound recordings in dementia care. A range of new design requirements and solutions will be generated as an output of the project.

The project is funded by award number EP/N014111/1 from the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account at a cost of £24,833. It ran for 6 months from 5th February 2019. The company partner is Unforgettable, who make products for people with dementia: The project was led by David Frohlich and Sarah Campbell from the University of Surrey in collaboration with Adam Vaughan from Unforgettable. Norman Alm from the University of Dundee was an advisor to the project on the design and testing of materials for reminiscence therapy.


Campbell, S. E., Frohlich, D., & Alm, N. A. (2022). Exploring the Role of Everyday Sounds to Support People Living with Dementia. In Design for People Living with Dementia (pp. 237-248). Routledge.

Frohlich, D.M., Castro P. & Campbell S. (2020) Introducing assistive media. Gerontechnology 2020;19 (Suppl.).

Frohlich D.M., Corrigan-Kavanagh E., Campbell S., Chrysanthaki T., Castro P., Zaine I., da Graça Campos Pimentel M. (2020) Assistive media for wellbeing. Chapter 12 in G. Kenning & R Brankaert (Eds) HCI and design in the context of dementia. Springer.

Campbell S., Frohlich D.M., Vaughan A. & Alm, N. (2019). Sentimental audio memories: Exploring the emotion and meaning of everyday sounds. Proceedings of DementiaLab 2019 Conference, Eindhoven, 21st – 22nd October 2019.

Frohlich D.M. & Campbell S. (2019) Co-designing the beneficial use of everyday recorded sounds with people with dementia and their carers. Proceedings of the Brazilian Congress of Gerontechnology2019, São Paulo, Brazil, 10-12th October 2019.