Remarkably, even after being diagnosed with dementia, Huddersfield musician Alfi Glendenning was still able to teach viola, violin and piano to adults and children.

But there came a time when she knew she had to give up – after a lifetime as a music teacher, conductor and orchestral instrumentalist.

If she has moments of sadness at the loss she doesn’t recall. “I just can’t remember things any more,” says Alfi, now 80, “I’ve got Alzheimer’s.” Her husband and carer Allan knows the truth. There are times when she is extremely distressed.

Alfi (full name Alfreda) is aware that her mental faculties are fading, but to the occasional visitor, such as myself, she appears chirpy and conversational. It’s only the fact she says “I can’t remember” in answer to many questions that suggests there’s something wrong.

Allan, 85, says his wife retains few, if any, memories of recent events. “Tomorrow she won’t remember that you’ve been here today,” he explains. “But she can tell me all about things that happened when she was at school and lived in the Dales.”

Short-term memory loss is a classic symptom of Alzheimer’s. Consequently, Alfi can’t remember when she began to experience the early signs. But Allan says she was diagnosed a least a couple of years ago and he’s been gradually taking on more and more caring responsibilities ever since.

Alfi now attends a support group for people with dementia run by Making Space at The Media Centre, which gives her a social outlet.

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It’s difficult for the couple, who live in Dalton, to quantify how Alzheimer’s has affected their lives. But both believe they would have been much more outgoing had Alfi, a former member of Paddock Orchestra, not developed the condition. As she says: “We were very busy before, musically. We were in lot of things. I had orchestras and recorder groups and wind bands. I was very busy.” And, of course, she was still teaching privately.

Today they go everywhere together and Allan admits that he can’t allow Alfi to venture out on her own. “Even if she just went to the fish and chip shop around the corner I’d be terrified that she’d get lost. I wouldn’t dare to leave her on her own,” he says.

Married for half a century, Alfi and Allan first met through their shared interest in music. Allan, who used to work in the textile industry and was a pilot officer with the RAF during his National Service, is a self-taught wind instrumentalist. They got together after attending an orchestral course and have two children – one lives in Germany, the other in Nottingham - and five grandchildren.

Becoming a carer has been more than a little overwhelming for Allan, who says: “I feel a bit out in the wilds”. He’s taken on the responsibility for all cooking in the household and has recently arranged for a cleaner to help them look after their beautiful historic cottage. Having family who live so far away means that quite often he faces the challenges alone. There are, he says, no good or bad days for Alzheimer’s sufferers. “They are all mixed up,” he adds. “Two hours before you arrived Alfi was crying about the Alzheimer’s and what she can’t do any more. But she doesn’t remember.”

While Alfi no longer teaches music she still plays the piano a little and hasn’t lost the skill. Allan spends a lot of time reading – they have a library of thousands of books, many about music.

Sadly, Alfi can no longer read as she finds it difficult to retain information from one page to another. But she’s still fascinated to learn about the new reading group started by Making Space, which poet John Killick will lead. Dementia may be destroying her memory, but it’s not destroyed her interest in life.