BBC TV and radio presenter, Lauren Laverne, has been appointed ambassador for Music for Dementia 2020, a campaign calling for music to be accessible to everyone living with dementia.
Lauren, who hosts Radio 6 Music’s Breakfast Show, will bring her experience and insight from the music industry to the campaign, which was created and funded by The Utley Foundation, a charity founded by Neil and Nicky Utley in 2014.
Music for Dementia 2020 is seeking to lead the field in music and dementia care by creating a national taskforce of stakeholders who can effect change. Lauren Laverne will help shape the campaign over the course of two years and increase awareness around how and why music can be used as an integral part of dementia care.
The campaign also has the backing of UK Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, and Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK, Baroness Sally Greengross, who led a sector-wide commission into music and dementia in 2018.
Lauren Laverne said:
‘I can’t imagine my life without music. We all instinctively know how important music is and how beneficial it is for our wellbeing. It connects us to others, to our memories and boosts our mood. That’s why it’s a central part of every important human interaction – from socialising with friends to weddings, even funerals.
‘But because music is everywhere, we sometimes take it for granted and that’s a huge mistake. There is now a vast amount of scientific research exploring the enormous benefits music has for cognitive, physical and mental health.
‘Music’s connection to memory is something we intuitively understand and celebrate every day on radio shows like mine but we are failing to use this powerful tool in the fight against dementia. Music should be made available to everyone living with the syndrome.’
Matt Hancock said:
‘Dementia can have a devastating impact on people’s lives but music has been scientifically proven to bring calm, reduce agitation and support those affected to cope better with symptoms.
‘I back Music for Dementia 2020, which offers a great opportunity for people with dementia, their families and carers to access music and get good value, easy-to-use social prescription that I fully endorse. It will help us deliver more person-centred care, a key part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan.’
Baroness Sally Greengross said:
‘Despite growing evidence of the value of music for people with dementia, we are not seeing enough being done to improve access to appropriate music-based activities.
‘One of the key recommendations from the commission was to improve public awareness around the power of music. We hope that through this partnership, Lauren Laverne and Music for Dementia 2020 will shine a light on the value of music as an intervention.’