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Dealing with dementia: What is it like living with Alzheimer's?

In partnership with The European Commission
Dealing with dementia: What is it like living with Alzheimer's?
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Euronews
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Gerry Paley and his wife Nuala speak to Smart Health about how their lives have changed since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's eight years ago.

Some eight years ago, Gerry Paley, a former civil servant living in Ireland, was diagnosed with dementia. The disease has no known cure, and existing medicines available in Europe can only help treat symptoms related to memory or behaviour.

Gerry and his wife Nuala spoke to Smart Health about how the disease has changed his life, and some of the new activities he has discovered along the way.

"It was progressive. Your life has progressively changed. Your sense of direction is gone," Nuala explained.

"I don't think Gerry realises it. But I can see it. He might go left instead of right. You know, that sort of thing. But Gerry was always very socially conscious. And he still has that great will to help people, and to help others, to do things for others. He likes to be involved with the Alzheimer Society and he is involved in different groups in it," she said.

"We regroup and play songs which deal with dementia. We call that 'musical memories,' Gerry told Smart Heath. 

"I'm probably one of the younger people there. A lot of them are quite elderly - men and women. 

"We have a book of songs. And we pick a song and we all sing the song together. And you could see people who were worst than I am, you can see them reacting to the music. Music is a good way of therapy for people with dementia."

"Gerry had a great interest in music because he was a DJ for a little while in his youth," Nuala revealed. "He used to do that as a kind of a hobby. And he has a great interest in music. He loves listening to music".

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