Music Health has developed and launched Vera, an intuitive music intervention tool designed for the care of people affected by dementia.
Through a strategic, industry-first agreement, Vera app users are able to access the entire catalogue from Universal Music Group, in order to develop personalised music stations specifically designed to improve the lives of people living with dementia every day. As exclusive launch partner, UMG brings a comprehensive global music catalogue to Vera users.
Vera is now approved by Apple for download via the App Store in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA, with the cross-sector Music for Dementia campaign welcoming the launch to help improve the lives of people impacted by dementia.
The launch is the culmination of Music Health’s three-year development process which involved global research and development of the underlying technology that allows Vera to curate the perfect song at the right time for every individual listener.
The announcement follows the launch at Universal Music UK of the Power Of Music, a report from UK Music and Music for Dementia, which outlines a blueprint to use music to help transform communities and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing. It includes a commitment from Universal Music UK to develop a dynamic online resource which will serve as a music and dementia information hub.
Grace Meadows, campaign director, Music for Dementia, said: “Research shows that music is much more impactful for people living with dementia when it holds meaning and is associated with moments from someone’s life. In our recently launched Power of Music report, which sets out how we can be harnessing the power of music more to support health and wellbeing, we emphasised the need for a personalised approach to embedding music in health and social care, and the Vera App helps carers to do that.”
The power of personalised music to affect a significant improvement in cognitive function for people in dementia care is evidenced by international scientists and neurologists.
Vera analyses the age of the dementia affected person, where they grew up, and how they react to certain music. It uses these criteria to autonomously curate the right songs at the right times to effectively manage the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).
More than 80% of people living with dementia experience BPSD, manifesting as agitation, aggression, depression, or confusion. Vera stimulates the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory to help manage the impact of BPSD, easing the care routine of those living with dementia.
Listening to personally significant music - all the noteworthy songs from our own life - is shown to effectively decrease the effects of BPSD helping to improve mood, cognitive function, motor functions and brain plasticity. The songs are autonomously curated and played directly from the Vera app via speakers or headphones.
We’re proud to partner with Music Health on Vera to help improve the lives of so many around the world
While not a cure, Vera is a tool that can temporarily improve the cognitive function and mood of the person living with dementia making it easier to care for them.
Stephen Hunt, Music Health co-founder, said: “We’ve built Vera to know and find the music that means the most and has the biggest effect for each person living with dementia. It acts like a music detective, that seeks out tunes that they used to love a long time ago but may have forgotten about, which their carers may have never heard of, and their families may not even know.”
Vera is a product of Australian collaborative innovation.
Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP of digital strategy, said: “From rigorous workouts to peaceful meditation to restorative sleep cycles, music is deeply integrated into numerous innovations promoting health and wellbeing. Now, scientists are finding that music is also a powerful tool for helping those suffering from the effects of dementia and memory loss. At UMG, we are working with a wide range of companies to develop therapeutical applications of music and we’re proud to partner with Music Health on Vera to help improve the lives of so many around the world.”
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to bring Vera to market thanks to our amazing partnership with Universal Music Group and the many care home and researchers that have made it possible,” added Hunt. “It’s thanks to their early support for the concept that we’ve been able to deliver this foundational change to the daily lives of those living with dementia, here and around the world.”
Vera is currently in trials with BUPA, the international healthcare company headquartered in the UK, as well as several health and care providers in Australia.