Vera personalized playlists use music to help people with dementia

The right song at the right moment can lift anyone's mood. For people living with dementia, music can be even more potent, helping soothe agitation and anxiety, getting people moving or bringing back memories.

Capturing the power of music therapy in an app, Vera creates playlists for those with dementia. When setting up the app, a user or caregiver indicates when and where the user was born and grew up, and which music they enjoy. Vera then uses AI to create personalized playlists featuring songs people love but may have forgotten, and music that played on the radio when they were young.

Different playlists have different goals, from helping people relax to energizing them. In addition to emotional and behavioral benefits, Vera can also help users connect with family and friends, allowing them to reminisce when songs trigger memories. Over time, the app learns and adapts depending on how people respond to songs.

Vera partnered with Universal to give users access to a vast catalog of music. The app is available in its native Australia — where it was developed with funding from a government research grant — and in the UK, the US and New Zealand. Pricing is USD 89.99 for a 12-month plan.

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Within 30 years, the number of people living with dementia could triple. By 2050, it's estimated that 153 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.⁠

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to find preventative and curative treatments, and public health experts are working to lower risk through lifestyle interventions. But in the meantime, innovative solutions like Vera can improve life for the estimated 57.4 million people who already have dementia, and support those who care for them.

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