Alzheimer’s is one of the cruelest of all diseases, robbing the person of his or her memories and the very essence of their personality.
There’s currently no way to cure this horrible illness, but one man, Simon McDermott, discovered a way to snap his dad back out of it for precious periods at a time. It seems that when Simon and his father, Teddy “Mac” McDermott, go for car rides, they start singing together. This seems to snap Mac back into his old self.
Watch the U.K.-based father and son in action:
Simon started recording his musical car rides with his father and sharing them online under the YouTube account The Songaminute Man. After gaining attention, he started a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society, a U.K.-based care and research charity, which he felt indebted to.
“Without them we would have had very little idea or support about how to deal with even the basics of Dad’s condition,” Simon explains on his Just Giving.com fundraising page. “The more Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became violent—both physically and verbally—it was incredibly difficult to manage. And terrifying at times.”
Mac is a lifelong singer, and had performed in clubs around the country and as an entertainer with a group known as Butlins Redcoats.
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He worked in a factory after getting married, though he did some occasional singing on the side throughout his life.
Simon explains that Mac’s nickname became The Songaminute Man, “simply because of how many songs he knows.”
You can tell from these brief videos that this father-son duo enjoy a close relationship, though Simon notes on the fundraising page that the “terrible disease” has at times left Mac incapable of recognizing his son.
The music allows them to be present together and share quality time in a way that is often a challenge for those with dementia.
UPDATE 01/18/18: Since we first wrote about Mac and Simon last year, the duo have continued to sing and post their videos to YouTube. Even more noteworthy, they won a Pride of Britain Award, which is an annual award ceremony that celebrates the achievement of people who’ve worked to make the world a better place. Simon had to accept the award solo, as his dad wasn’t able to attend due to his condition.
And another exciting update is that Mac got to record! The album was just recently released, and 25 percent of the profits will go to support the Alzheimer’s Society. You can order one from the Song A Minute website.
What happy news for this father-son duo.
If you know of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, do you find that music has a positive effect on them?
RELATED: Here’s a heartwarming video of a mother with Alzheimer’s recognizing her daughter for the first time in a while: