Alzheimer's

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10 year old Rael lives in Birmingham in the UK with her mum Simone, and her great-grandmother, Daisy.

Nanny Daisy is 90 years old. She and the whole family love music. But sometimes life can be hard.

Schools World Service visits 10 year old Rael who lives with her great-grandmother who has Alzheimer's dur 5,19

When we arrived to film with Rael and her family, nanny Daisy was still asleep. Rael told us that her nan had been asleep all morning. She'd been awake for most of the previous two nights.

What is Alzheimer's?

Daisy has a disease called Alzheimer's. It means she has problems with her memory and gets very confused.

Rael said, "I tell my friends about my nan having alzheimers, but they don't talk about people in their family having disability or mental health issues, because they get embarrassed, so they just don't say anything."

Simone and Daisy Rael's mum Simone gave up her job working in a primary school to look after Daisy full-time

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia or illness of the brain. Until recently not much was known about it and people didn't really talk about it, but in fact over 800,000 people in the UK have this kind of illness and there's more than 24 million people around the world with the disease. Daisy developed Alzheimer's 9 years ago.

Rael says, "She forgets things, but she remembers things that happened in the past when she was younger."

Rael and her nan eat breakfast together and listen to reggae music. Rael says her nan enjoys the music and she taps her foot along in time to the beat.

Take a break

10 year old Rael Rael says she loves living with her nan and listening to reggae music with her

Caring for somebody with Alzheimer's can be really difficult, so to give everyone a break and Daisy a change of scenery, she goes to a day centre four times a week.

While Daisy gets to hang out with people her own age, it gives Rael and Simone some valuable time together.

Rael and Simone both love cooking - especially making chocolate brownies. Rael says, "It's something special to do together. We don't normally get to do things like this because it's quite busy as my mum has a lot of things to sort out."

Rael and Simone even have their own language. They say, "If nan's really confused we call it 'on one'! When nanny's steaming around the house, looking for things and collecting things, we say 'nanny's on one!"'

Forgetful

Although Daisy loves to chatter, most of the time she's talking to herself and what she says doesn't make much sense to anyone else.

Nobody knows what causes Alzheimer's, but when somebody has the disease their brain cells are damaged and die faster than usual - which is what makes them forgetful. Daisy doesn't even remember where she lives.

Rael says, "We keep our door key in a safe place so nanny can't just let herself out. But one day nanny saw where my mum keeps the key, and she picked it up and let herself out. She walked all the way to the Blues football ground and the police found her and brought her back in a police car."

Big issue

Alzheimer's is becoming a big issue and although there's no cure for it, Rael and Simone are pleased the British government has promised to spend more money trying to find out what causes the disease, and to help those families who are affected.

Daisy is well enough to be looked after at home. Some people with Alzheimer's have to move into a care home to get the help they need.

Rael says, "I know it can get worse by forgetting more things and being less mobile, and having to have stairlifts. But it's become natural to me. It's like anything. It's just living with it really. I take it as a positive, because you've still got them around."

Schools World Service is a BBC British Council co-production

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