Alzheimer’s disease primarily affects seniors (though it is known to affect people of all ages), and the impact on patients’ families can be devastating. Unfortunately, the McDermott family must endure the daily agony of not being remembered by the head of their household, Ted McDermott. Ted McDermott, 80, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which caused him to forget many things and people, including members of his own family.
His memory and temper deteriorate with each passing day, but his son Simon considered doing something wonderful for his father in the hopes of reliving his father’s memories, if only for a brief moment. Simon, who adored his father, began to devise his brilliant plan by playing some of Ted’s favorite songs and began to sing. Ted immediately began to sing along with his son, recalling the song’s lyrics.
Simon was moved and amazed by his father’s singing ability, which was unaffected by his condition, as they sang together. “Dad was a singer his entire life – he was a Butlin’s Redcoat and then traveled around the country singing in clubs. After he married, he went to work in a factory and continued to sing on the side. He’s known as the “Songaminute Man” because of how many songs he knows.
“In the last few years, his memory has deteriorated significantly – frequently not recognizing family and with many aggressive episodes,” Simon said, recalling his father’s singing career. Ted’s aggressiveness and temper made dealing with him emotionally and medically difficult for his family, but Simon would do anything to improve his father’s condition and make him feel alive again.
His plan was to share as much of Ted’s singing as possible in order to help raise funds for the Alzheimer’s society, which his father is a member of. Simon’s first video, which he posted on the Internet, quickly went viral. This video was taken while he was chauffeuring his father around Blackburn. They joyfully sang “Quando, Quando, Quando,” which warmed many viewers’ hearts. Many viewers admired Simon for his bravery and obvious love for his father.
Some may be able to relate to the story because they are in the same situation as Simon. “We lost my Nan to dementia, but she would come back to us in songs,” a reader named “Rach” said. This brought back so many memories for me that I burst into tears. Since the video went viral, Simon has received thousands of messages from people all over the world who have been inspired by his father, particularly those who have loved ones with dementia.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that driving dad to the supermarket and having a singalong would make such a huge difference not only to his own life, but to the lives of so many people around the world,” Simon says. Simon’s carpool karaoke with his Dad eventually made them Internet sensations. This simple act also helped to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society while also bringing back wonderful memories of his father.
“The Alzheimer’s Society is extremely grateful for Simon’s fantastic fundraising achievements in honor of his father, Teddy Mac,” Michael Dent, Director of the Alzheimer’s Society, wrote on his website. Teddy and Simon’s carpool clips continued to bring joy and inspiration to many people around the world, while blessings continued to pour on Simon and Teddy.
Teddy was signed to a record label and released his debut single, “You Make Me Feel So Young.” The father and son were also honored with the “Pride of Britain Award” for sharing motivational singing videos. Simon also wrote a book called “The Songaminute Man” about his father’s life and how he helped him overcome the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and inspire the entire world through his songs.
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