Granddaughter's music breaks through fog of Alzheimer's

THERE are generations between them, but 16-month-old Bailey Heron and her "Pa" Stuart are in perfect harmony.

Stuart Mutch has Alzheimer's disease, and often doesn't remember what he does each day and is disconnected from his loved ones.

But the power of music awakens the 68-year-old Queenslander.

Every Friday for 45 minutes "Pa" comes to life, as he joins his granddaughter at her dance and music classes, Boppin' Babies at Manly.

Their tight bond needs no words when they share their love of song.

Stuart used to play saxophone, clarinet and flute in bands, and even though he now struggles to find the words for conversation, music still rocks his world.

Stuart Mutch disovers the healing power of music with granddaughter Bailey Heron. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP
Stuart Mutch disovers the healing power of music with granddaughter Bailey Heron. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP

The classes are run by Vicky Abad, a registered music therapist with extensive clinical experience in paediatric and early-intervention music therapy and music early learning.

"For people with dementia, music is a really powerful tool that we can use to help trigger memory and recall," she said.

"Research shows that music awakens a part of the brain not impacted by dementia, and that it evokes responses such as singing and movement and can provide precious moments of connection with loved ones.

"For Bailey's Pa, music provides a bridge to his past that has not been affected by his dementia.

"He has a lifelong love of music, so his long-term memories as well as muscle memory (from playing instruments) would be intact and stimulated."

The therapist believes Bailey and her Pa express love without words at the littlies session.

 

 

Stuart Mutch disovers the healing power of music with granddaughter Bailey Heron. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP
Stuart Mutch disovers the healing power of music with granddaughter Bailey Heron. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP

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