TodayApril 15, 2022

A Son loves his Father; the Songaminute man

Alzheimer’s Society and a Son

Simon McDermott loves his Dad, but his Father doesn’t always know that or even know that Simon is his Son.

It’s the sad thing about Alzheimer’s disease; people can’t remember their loved ones. Simon has watched his Father, Ted McDermott, as his memory has deteriorated, taking their precious memories from him, and making Simon feel more and more helpless.

At some point, Simon realized that his Dad, a singer all his life, remembered the words to the songs he has been performing all his life. It was during those times that Simon got his Father back.

In the same style as James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and Jerry Seinfeld’s cars and comedians, Simon rigged a camera in his vehicle, and he and his Dad took to the streets, singing their hearts out. The car doesn’t appear to have a Bang & Olufsen stereo system with fourteen speakers, just a regular car with two guys having a great time. Like the old times.

It’s so funny to watch the first videos; you can see the mixture of love and “Oh Dad” in Simon’s expressions. That was back in June 2016. Since then everyone that has seen these videos that have a loved one with dementia and Alzheimer’s has commented, shared the Facebook page, liked the youtube video and donated money. The goal was to get $1,000 to donate to the Alzheimer’s society. That goal has been exceeded by 12464 percent and is rising daily.

On his page, Simon explained why he started the fundraiser, “I’m fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society because of the advice they’ve given us in the last few years. Without them, we would have had very little idea or support about how to deal with even the basics of Dad’s condition.

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.

Alzheimer’s Society provides a telephone helpline to sufferers and their families. I cannot begin to describe how a stranger’s voice at the end of the phone line helped when things got really bad.

Dad was a singer throughout his life – he was a Butlin’s Redcoat and then traveled around singing in clubs around the country. He worked in a factory when he got married and did the occasional bit of singing on the side. His nickname is The Songaminute Man – simply because of how many songs he knows.

In the last few years, his memory has deteriorated a lot – often not recognizing me as his son. It’s a horrible illness.

However, now when we’ve got him singing again he’s back in the room. It’s these moments that we treasure.

The plan is to share as much of Dad’s singing as we can, and hopefully, it will help raise money to fund the work of the Alzheimer’s Society – more specifically to go towards paying for a person at the end of the phone line to help other people like us.”

Simon’s plan has increased awareness of Alzheimer’s, humanized his Father, and created new memories that will last a lifetime.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.