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The teenager who sings to her grandfather with Alzheimer's to help him remember

Grace, 17, sings to her grandfather, John, who has Alzheimer's

17-year-old Grace Heery sings to her grandfather who has Alzheimer's to lift his mood and help him remember.

Grandfather John, 86, was diagnosed six years ago and is now in the later stages of the disease.

His wife, who was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's, passed away seven years ago. To help lift his spirit, Grace sings John's favourite song 'Danny Boy' to trigger memories.

Just having him sit there, maybe just listening to me or even singing with me just makes a massive difference and brings his mood up and then by seeing him that little bit happier, that little bit more, not as agitated, just makes me feel so good as well.

– Grace Heery
Grace sings in the National Youth Choir

Grace learnt to play the guitar when she was seven and is a soprano in the National Youth Choir. She is the only person from Port Talbot and Swansea in the choir.

John often likes to sit and listen to her practicing her songs.

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.

– Grace Heery

Age UK say the total number of people with dementia in the UK is predicted to be over 1 million by 2021. As a way to help alleviate symptoms - such as agitation, anxiety and depression - evidence shows music can really help.

People with dementia have clear memories of the music they loved between the ages of 10 and 30. Music helps their brains "light up" and reach parts that others cannot.

Katrina, John's daughter, says that singing helps to calm him

John's daughter, Katrina, says that singing and music really helps John in the evening when he feels "quite agitated". This period is known amongst dementia patients as "sundowning".

When Grace gets her guitar out and sings a song with him and it sort of just calms him down. It happens in a lot of nursing homes and they are realising that there's a definite calming influence on dementia patients through music

– Katrina, John's daughter
Grace says it's a great way to

Grace sometimes goes to the day centre with John and sings to the visitors there. She says it is a great way to "bring the generations together".

Although John says he doesn't have a good voice, he loves to sing with Grace - and he always goes to watch her perform.

She's got a beautiful voice

– John Baker