IF you didn’t notice that Monday was World Alzheimer’s Day, part of the month devoted each year to flagging up the global response to this form of dementia, then I’m guessing you’ve never had to deal in a personal way with a desperately difficult condition.

I’m fortunate enough not to have had personal experience either, but I have come in contact with a number of sufferers and carers over the years and with some of the medical professionals who give their time and talents to researching a condition for which there isn’t yet a cure.

One woman I interviewed shortly after diagnosis was a bright spark too well read not to be aware what lay in store for what had been a high functioning brain.

Already her house was festooned with Post-it notes reminding her how to perform tasks which had, until very recently, been pretty well done on auto pilot.

READ MORE: Memory walks planned to raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland

One man whom I had known for decades, and who was a scientist of some renown, held a conversation with me in his care home about an entirely fictitious event he insisted had taken place the day before.

The cruelty of dementia diseases is that they are absolutely no respecter of previous neurological capacity.

Over the years, while we have not found a cure, we’ve become more conversant with means of coping. It’s generally accepted that familiar surroundings and people are helpful, which is what makes the care home lockdowns so involuntarily cruel.

We’ve learned too the value of recounting personal histories and memories both orally and with the aid of pictures whilst the person is still able to communicate.

But the one thing which seems to cut through in the most amazing way to minds scarred by loss of cells, neurological connectors or blood supplies is music.

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: September 24, 2020

A post on social media the other day came from a man who recounted how his father, whose dementia was quite advanced, could still play and compose music on the piano if his son gave him a few notes as a starter pack. (See @mrnickharvey on Twitter for the video.)

The broadcaster, Sally Magnusson, wrote a moving memoir about her journalist mother’s descent into the foggy world of dementia.

But Sally and her sisters became aware that when they sang familiar songs together, her mother became both animated and word perfect, assembling verses when she normally had difficulty with prose.

And so she set up the Playlist for Life charity which does exactly what it says on the tin.

With the help of friends or relatives, a playlist of meaningful songs or music is assembled for people with dementia, giving them pleasure and, crucially, making life a little easier for their carers.

Read more news, views and local opinions here