A loving granddaughter has found the perfect way to care for her granddad’s Alzheimer’s by using her beautiful voice to keep his memory alive.
Grace Heery, 17, started playing guitar when she was seven, and quickly discovered she had an incredible voice to go with it.
Now, she uses her talent to sing alongside her 86-year-old grandfather John Baker, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago.
A touching video shows the pair affectionately singing Danny Boy together:
Grace told WalesOnline:
It is proven that music really helps people with Alzheimer’s, it triggers their memory and brings things back.
My grandfather always used to sing this song, so I learned it so we could sing it together.
Grace and her parents moved in with John and his late wife in their home in Port Talbot, Wales, around seven years ago.
Just a few months later, John’s wife died, and he was also diagnosed with the condition. Now, he’s in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, meaning his memory is fleeting.
He knows who we all are, and I can safely say that us living with him has helped, I don’t think he would be the way he is now if we didn’t.
We spend all our time together, he comes everywhere with us. We have a really close family system.
When he was younger, John used to work in the local steel works, and to this day he loves sharing stories of his travels around the world, particularly a visit to Hong Kong, with his family.
However, more and more he’s struggling with day-to-day confusion, which makes his singing sessions with Grace all the more important.
Grace’s mum Katrina says John is his granddaughter’s biggest fan, adding she couldn’t be more proud of her.
Grace, who is head girl of St Joseph’s School and Sixth Form Centre, is also a member of the National Youth Choir, where she sings soprano. She hopes to head off to university to pharmacology as she has high hopes of eventually becoming a patent attorney.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.