Musical therapy makes Jeanette’s day
MUSIC and dance is helping to bring joy to a Kalamunda woman living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jeanette Smallwood ( 77) suffers from the disease but thanks to music therapy and respite care through Silver Chain has been able to stay at home with her husband of 58 years, Terry.
Ms Smallwood has developed a connection with her carer Priya through music and although each day they start off as strangers because of the disease, they soon become best friends, dancing and singing to ’ 60s songs.
Mr Smallwood said that as his wife’s full- time carer, having a bit of help meant he could get out of the house.
“Jeanette was diagnosed five years ago and Alzheimer’s is dreadful,” he said.
“She knows who Terry is, but doesn’t recognise I’m Terry and her husband.
“Every day is much the same. I help her get dressed, I cook for her and help her around the house.
“It gets very tiring and I don’t get much time to do the normal things other people get to do, like socialise. When Priya comes over, I have peace of mind that Jeanette is in safe hands.”
Silver Chain social care executive general manager Melanie Kiely said music helped dementia patients.
“We’ve found that using music or placing someone living with dementia into a familiar situation can stimulate their mind and have a profound effect on their mental and physical health,” she said.
Mr Smallwood said his wife and Priya had a special bond.
“Jeanette was glamorous in everything she did and always wanted to be on stage. She loved singing and dancing,” he said.
“Priya helps my wife with her hair and makeup, and then they sing and dance for hours.
“The way Jeanette’s face changes and the way her smile grows when the music starts is remarkable.”
Terry and Jeanette Smallwood.