Mu­si­cal ther­apy makes Jeanette’s day

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - NEWS -

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.

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