Free Music Playlists for the Elderly

Free Music Playlists for the Elderly

Found In: Activities Music Articles

Music has been proven to be very beneficial for the elderly in long term care, particularly those living with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. Here are some wonderful free playlists of famous songs from the 40s, 50s & 60s!
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Music has been proven to be very beneficial for the elderly in long term care, particularly those living with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.

Studies have shown that music promotes better health through the enjoyment of listening, dancing and singing.

Music also triggers long forgotten memories and enables residents to engage and reach a higher level of functioning.

Related: The Benefits of Individual Music Activities for the Elderly

Music has never been more affordable or easier to access. Websites such as ‘YouTube’ and ‘Spotify’, offer a wide variety of music free of charge.

Here is a brief description of YouTube and Spotify including links to music playlists we have created that are free to use.


YouTube has quickly become one of the most popular ways for people to listen to music.

You can even create your own playlists on YouTube, which is like a list of music videos that will automatically play one-after-the-other. Visit YouTube here:

Here are links to 4 play lists on YouTube we have put together for you to use with your clients:


Spotify is a music service that has an almost limitless range of songs and artists. There is a free version supported by ads, and a paid version for $12 a month without ads.

To use Spotify you will need to create an account and download software for your computer or smart phone / device. To get started simply go to their website and follow the instructions from there.

Here are links to 4 playlists on Spotify we have created for you. If you click "Follow" on the playlist, you will be notified when we add new music to the playlists.

YouTube vs Spotify

  • YouTube is free. There is a free version of Spotify but the ads can get annoying.
  • In Spotify, it is easier to create playlists than in YouTube where you have to hunt down all the music videos.
  • The quality of the sound is often better on Spotify.
  • It can be fun to watch the music videos on YouTube. Spotify is for listening to music only.

Both are great and well worth checking out.


Note: Please make sure to follow the relevant terms and conditions of each service.

Songs for Seniors Quiz
Sing-along with Picture Cards

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Comments   Post a Comment

Niki 27th Aug 2023
I play the accordion and loved getting the playlist from Susan. I like to play from lead sheets and would welcome any links. I have been playing a Senior Assisted Living facility. Thanks.
Lori 23rd Feb 2022 Guest Services Manager

Sharing our sing along playlist in youtube. Its a combination of war songs and the likes of Englebert, The Platters and Dean Martin.
Susan 24th Feb 2022 Activity Director
Hi Lori
Thank you so much for this information
Susan 4th Apr 2020 Activity Director
Here is a great list
There are 32 pages make sure you look at them all
sally mcnamara 4th Apr 2020
looking for songs with lyrics. TY

Jeff 27th May 2019
Some great stuff here. The link to Spotify didn't seem to be working, but I searched within spotify and found a playlist by Golden Carers. This is a fantastic list of songs - almost all of which I have been using regularly with my role at a Senior Living Community.

Unfortunately, a number of the youtube videos in the playlists have been removed since this was originally posted. Would be nice to know what songs those were or to see this post and it's linked content updated.
Talita 28th May 2019
ahh good to know, Jeff. Thanks for pointing this out. We will update the playlist and let you know! Thanks again.
Maurice 24th Jun 2019
Hi Jeff,

You might want to try the Spotify links again, I tested them and they are working for me. If you login to your Spotify account you should be able to start listening to them right away.

Copyrights on music changes constantly and is different for each country, so keeping the YouTube and Spotify lists updated is only something we can do periodically. The playlists were between Spotify and YouTube were close to the same, so you can see what was removed in Spotify.

Hope that helps!
Evelyn 20th Nov 2018
This is really helpful. Not only will it help me connect with my grandmother, but my school requires community service, so I want to visit a nursing home. I'm really grateful for this.

Talita 24th Nov 2018
Thanks so much for your feedback Evelyn, all the best!
Annette 1st Sep 2018
My mom died of Alzheimer's 2 years this week. I would have loved to had this information. I did a lot of these activities with her since it was my mom I knew her likes and dislikes. She would LOVED to had a music playlist. Something I never thought of. My suggestions to anyone w/ family member or loved one who has Alzheimer's,.
1. HAVE PATIENCE.. it's frustrating for both of you when they don't remember. Don't get aggravated if they don't remember something or someone. I had days when I went into her assisted living house. She didn't know me. I was devasted..I walked away..cried hysterically for 15 minutes myself back together ..and she said Hey baby where have you been ? LEARN NOT TO TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY..there will be days you'll be so frustrated you'll want to screamed.. it's just as frustrating for them. They want to remember too..but they can't. LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY. they're still you family ..tell them stories about the family...if they remember it that's awesome.celebrate those days.if they don't try again tomorrow or another day. They might never remember it .don't insist that they know it...they did ..but they don't now.
GO VISIT THEM OFTEN. there's nothing more important than family. I had 2 kids in school so I'd go have lunch w/her 3x a week. Did I have other things I should be doing of course. Going food shopping,clean the house etc. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS . Enjoy their company .They love to see you. It makes their day..some days it breaks your heart when you leave b/c they're having a bad day. NEVER cry in front of I used to call it give yourself a "time out" walk away for a few minutes..cry, scream, yell and get your composure and come back. It will make them feel horrible and sad to see you cry ..please...I cried in front of my mom one day when she didn't know me..the people who worked @ her assisted living house escorted me away..told me how to handle these days and moments. LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY. I would give anything to be able to have our chats. I miss her hugs the most. When I'm having a bad day a mom's hug makes everything ok.
Talita 3rd Sep 2018
Thank you so much for this reminder and beautiful words Annette. All the best x
Gloria 21st Oct 2019 PCA
Your Mum was very lucky to have had you in her life
Margaret 14th Aug 2018
We are in the process of starting an adult daycare and these are super ideas.
Thank you all very much. I will keep updated on all of this.
Theresa 10th Sep 2016
What a wonderful idea. I'll be passing this one on to my resident family members.
Brenna chapman ADC, MT-BC 1st Jun 2016
Speaking as a music therapist, may I remind everyone that music preferences are very individualized. Songs trigger negative memories as well and you need to find out if a patient has any negative associations when you make a playlist.
Suzanne 26th Apr 2016 Lifestyle and Volunteer Co-ordinator
My hope is to be able to play music from an MP3 player - any ideas? Residents don't have mobile phones and I-Pad is not practical. Would I need to subscribe to Spotify Premium, download to computer and then put on MP3? My understanding is that there is no free and legal way of downloading.
Maurice 29th Apr 2016
Hi Suzanne,

With a simple MP3 player, the best way to use it is to put MP3 files directly onto the device, usually by taking MP3s off CD's or downloading them from the web. Then you just drag them onto the MP3.

Copyright laws are grey, especially internationally. I have to add a disclaimer that I do not know what is legal or not legal, but it is possible to use online websites to convert YouTube videos into MP3 files, and then put them on the device.

Hope that helps :).
Maurice 10th Dec 2014
Hi Irene,

I personally created my account using the "Sign up with Facebook" button".

The alternative is to signup with an email address here:

Usually a username like firstname + lastname + number is the way to go as a lot of people use Spotify.

Then, you can just download the app on your phone or computer, and login with those details.

Hope that helps!
May Ann 24th Nov 2014 Recreational Therapist
Thanks Maurice!
Maurice 29th Oct 2014
Hi May,

I do believe it is possible to save YouTube videos to song files which you could then play on a USB, but you would have to google this. Apart from that I can't think of another solution.
May Ann 27th Oct 2014 Recreational Therapist
Trying to save it to my USB, is that possible? I don't have an Ipad but we do have a player that can play from USB.
Maurice 25th Sep 2014
Hi Heather,

The paid version of Spotify actually lets you download any songs so you don't need an internet connection to listen to them. You can do this on the iPad.

They have a free 30 day trial so that might be a good way to test it and see if it works for you.
heather 24th Sep 2014 DIVERSIONAL THERAPIST
Hi. In my homes we have no wifi. Is it possible to download these pieces of music into my iPad so I can use them in the homes? Thanks. Heather
Patricia 5th Sep 2014 Co Ordinator
Hi Ivan, even though in Australia, near Brisbane, no bias, we love Scottish & Irish music, former Tasmanian, love it there also! Hope we can connect via computer! Thank you!
ivan 4th Sep 2014 manager
This is a great thing. We also love music at any time. I present a weekly radio show featuring this type of music, hymns, singalongs, simple quizzes. As we're in Scotland there is a slight bias towards national likes. You can catch us on the Radio North Angus website. My show is on Fridays 10 -11.30am.
Caz 2nd Sep 2014
I used this activity weekly, Play U Tube, take request from all the residents individually , have a chat about the song/singer, reminisce ,, always great to liven things up and have some fun and the resident, who picked the tune , if they want to sing, give them a microphone to sing along.... visitors love it too, especially the kids, there are telling everyone they were singing along with "Granny" with U tube...great interaction,,,
Patricia 2nd Sep 2014 Co Ordinator
Thank you! Our group love a singalong at any opportunity, many of the songs I recognise & are their vintage.
Glenda 2nd Sep 2014 Lifestyle Co-ordinator
Every fortnight we have a music request afternoon. I hook the laptop to our big screen projector and we have requests from Youtube. Everyone loves the songs and accompanying clips and it always surprises me how varied the range of music is. From Vera Lynn to Queen!
Kymberly 6th Jul 2018 Activities Coordinator
How is the sound quality from your computer? Do you have amplified speakers attached?
Vicki 1st Sep 2014 diversional therapist
Thanks, that is such great information . I am sure that my residents will benefit from this .
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