"Seeing someone you love disappear is horrific": Northamptonshire woman releases charity song for mum with Alzheimer's

Katy Page and her mother Denise Oliver
Katy Page and her mother Denise Oliver

A Northamptonshire woman is raising money for Alzheimer's charities with her own song released as a tribute to her mother who suffers from the 'evil' disease.

Having slowly progressed from the odd forgetful moment to not recognising her own family, Denise Oliver moved into a dementia-specialist care home in 2017.

Her daughter, Katy Page, from Towcester, wrote 'Always By Your Side' for her mum, recording it and it is now available to download or buy in hard-copy.

"Mum and I have always shared a love of music and she would spend hours teaching me how to sing properly and listening to me sing Louise and Celine Dion songs when I was younger as I wanted to be a 'pop star'," she said.

"That’s the reason why I chose this way to raise money for these incredible charities as music meant so much to us.

"I managed to play mum my song during one of her rarer good days and she said it was lovely, which made my year!"

Katy, 37, described Denise as the most incredible lady she has ever met and her best friend.

Despite being abused as a child, Katy believes she 'broke the cycle' to become the most amazing, fierce and loving mum to her and her brothers you could ever imagine.

"There was nothing she wouldn’t do for us kids and was very protective over us," she said.

"As I got older I could always talk to her about anything and we were very very close.

A more recent photo of Katy and Denise

A more recent photo of Katy and Denise

"I’d talk to her on the phone every day, even if nothing particular had happened, we could natter away about anything and everything for ages!"

In 2014, Denise was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, at the age of 66, as she suffered with mild memory issues and would repeat herself a lot.

But it got worse as she forgot how to wash herself, how to dress herself and how to feed herself. She also became incontinent.

Katy said: "She’d randomly take all her clothes off and had forgotten how to use to the toilet so we’d find her peeing on the floor in random places around the house."

Denise with her husband David

Denise with her husband David

One night Denise threatened to call 999 and started packing her belongings into bags as she believed she was trapped in her own home with a stranger - her husband David.

They were forced to call 111 and a paramedic managed to calm Denise down. A doctor prescribed her sedatives after initially suggesting sectioning her.

Katy said: "I’ll never forget being in the toilet with mum at the GPs surgery, begging mum to go to the toilet as the GP needed a urine sample.

"I was crying my eyes out as mum just didn’t understand what was happening and was starting to get very cross and agitated when the GP came in and said we need to look into homes now."

The family then made the "horrible" decision to move Denise into Westgate House Nursing Home near Gayton even though they felt like we were abandoning her and letting her down.

But Katy said the staff are "absolutely incredible and are some of the best human beings on the planet", and the family visit Denise every week.

Earlier this year Katy came up with the idea of raising money for Westgate House, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research with her own song.

Fit Dog Studios in Gayton helped her to record it and 'Always By Your Side' was released on most music download sites and CD Baby on August 23.

Katy said: "I chose Alzheimer’s Society as they do amazing work supporting dementia suffers and their families which is so important and seeing someone you love disappear because of this illness is horrific.

"I chose Alzheimer’s Research to help find a cure for this evil illness and help stop anyone having to go through what mum and my family did.

"I’m hoping we can raise enough so that the chunk that goes to Westgate House can help pay towards some music therapy as it makes such a difference, when mum hears a song that she knows a little spark of who she was comes back."