BBC TV and radio presenter Lauren Laverne has been appointed as the ambassador for Music for Dementia 2020, a new nationwide campaign calling for music to be accessible to everyone living with dementia.
Lauren, who hosts Radio 6 Music’s flagship Breakfast Show, has joined forces with Music for Dementia 2020, to highlight the powerful impact music can have on people living with dementia.
The campaign follows the publication of the ground-breaking ILC-UK report, in conjunction with The Utley Foundation, which highlighted how music can help improve quality of life for people living with dementia. Backed by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, the campaign aims to make music available to people living with dementia and their carers across the UK.
Lauren, who has carved out a career as one of the UK’s leading music broadcasters and is currently presenting BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, said the issue is close to her heart.
Commenting on her new role she explained, “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 and that is why Music for Dementia 2020 is calling for better access to music for people living with dementia. They are working across the music, health and social care sectors with the aim of making music more accessible to everyone living with dementia by the end of 2020.”
Lauren will bring her experience and insight from the music industry to her role with Music for Dementia 2020 and 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.
Neil Utley, co-founder and Trustee of The Utley Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to have Lauren Laverne on board as an ambassador, who brings vast experience from the music industry. I know that she will be hugely influential in helping to spread the message about the impact music can have on the quality of life for people living with dementia.
“People with dementia often live in a silent world. Yet music can be used to minimise their day to day anxiety. The ability to connect to music is an innate aspect of being human and there is substantial evidence to demonstrate that.”
The Music for Dementia 2020 campaign also has the backing of the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock who led a sector-wide commission into music and dementia, funded by The Utley Foundation in 2018.
Commenting on the campaign he 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’ Long Term Plan.”
There are currently over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – supported by 700,000 informal carers who need support to keep caring for loved ones.
People with dementia and their families are being asked to sign up via the website to join the Music for Dementia 2020 taskforce to shape and inform the campaign.
Music for Dementia 2020 will be hosting a summer reception where representatives from the music industry, clinicians, practitioners and politicians will hear the goals of the campaign and have the opportunity to share ideas.
Visit http://www.musicfordementia2020.com/ for more information, to sign up to the Music for Dementia 2020 newsletter and to become part of the taskforce.