Murrieta singer Dayanna Garcia uses her voice to unlock memories for grandfather with dementia

Music can inspire us and in some cases it can help get through to someone living in the fog of dementia.

One young woman sings to her grandfather, hoping to trigger memories of happier times.

"My grandpa means so much to me," Dayanna Garcia of Murrieta said, "He's raised me since I was a child. He taught me how to drive"

The love 22-year-old Garcia has for her grandfather is plain to see on her video that's gone viral.

Her grandfather, 78-year-old Daniel Valdez, has dementia.

"He forgot how to use the restroom on his own," she said, "He forgot how to eat on his own."

But when Garcia sang a song from her grandfather's youth, she noticed the melody unlocked memories.

"He was literally looking at me and using his gestures to get my attention like, hey I know that," she said.

Memories linked to music are often preserved in patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Researchers say key brain areas associated with musical memories are left relatively undamaged by the disease.

Garcia saw a moment of clarity she hasn't seen for two years. Her grandfather was always her champion, her teacher and her biggest fan.

"I have always sang to him since I was little. He was always bragging about me to his friends," she said.

Now "Dayanna G," or "La Bandiva" as Garcia is also known, is recording her first album. When she's not performing, she's her grandfather's caregiver.

Every minute with him is precious. Garcia said she is saddened when she sees kids on their phones instead of with their grandparents.

"You're wasting your time. You don't know how valuable time is. If I could go back to that moment when my grandpa was completely healthy. I would be the most happiest girl alive," she said.

Her grandfather is slipping away, but when Garcia sings, she pulls him back. And in that song, they're together.

Garcia said she's received an overwhelming response from other young people after they saw her video on social media. They said they're inspired to try music as a way of connecting to their grandparents who suffer from dementia as well.

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