Start-up partners with Bupa to revolutionise dementia care

The Royal Commission into aged care and the COVID pandemic have exposed a broken aged-care sector, forcing service providers to look for scalable, non-invasive solutions to improve the quality of life of those in their care. One of the country’s leading aged-care providers, Bupa Aged Care, are embracing personalised music as an evidence-based, research-backed therapy to evolve their dementia care approach through a partnership with local start-up Music Health.

The co-founders of Music Health Nicc Johnson and Stephen Hunt, and their team, have developed a revolutionary AI-based digital solution called Vera, an easy-to-use tool for dementia carers to integrate meaningful music into the daily routine to assist with the stressful moments of care.

Johnson, a renowned DJ who grew up in Ibiza as a resident at the island’s famous Pacha nightclub, initially developed Vera in late 2019 to support and empower both his parents with music, to keep their brains stimulated as they age. When COVID struck, highlighting the issues faced by elderly dementia sufferers, Johnson and Hunt set about developing a new iteration of the tool, VeraPro, to empower carers to integrate personally significant music into the daily routine of care to help reduce negative incidences of mood and behaviour changes (BPSD).

“Personalised music can visibly transform someone living with dementia and it’s quite spectacular to see,” Hunt, a musician and former Neighbours actor, enthused.

The first aged-care home to pilot VeraPro is Bupa Baulkham Hills, and the centre’s general manager Karthik Ramamurthy is excited about the tool’s potential.

“The introduction of Vera and the curated playlists that are personalised to the cultural backgrounds of our residents will help unlock hidden memories and, hopefully, make them feel confident and assured, and improve their interactions with others including their loved ones and carers,” Ramamurthy said.

“Caring for someone living with dementia can be challenging, so we’re delighted that new technologies like Vera are available to complement the programs and specialist care we have in place to ensure our residents maintain their sense of self and feel comforted in our care,” Ramamurthy added.

On the back of a successful start to the pilot program with Bupa, Vera has been released this week on the Apple AppStore – Vera App users will enjoy songs curated by the Vera AI from the entire catalogue of Universal Music Group (UMG), one of the world’s leading music-based entertainment companies, to create their own personalised music stations specifically designed to improve the lives of family members or friends living with dementia.