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Carpool Karaoke Allows Father and Son to Connect, Despite Alzheimer’s

By | September 21st, 2017

As the opening notes of “Quando, Quando, Quando” begin, Teddy Mac, an 81-year-old man living with Alzheimer’s, seems gruff, barking out comments to his son, Simon. But as soon as Engelbert Humperdinck croons the first words, Mac joins in right on cue, able to sing the song without skipping a beat from start to finish.

Mac was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, and is prone to aggressive behavior and often doesn’t recognize family members, says his son on the Youtube channel where he posts updates about his father’s condition.

But when he hears the music from his youth, Mac becomes a different person—or perhaps the one he used to be.

When Simon realized how music affected his father, who used to be club singer, he posted a video of one of their drives to social media with a link to make a donation to The Alzheimer’s Society. The response was immediate, and now the videos have millions of views.

Today, World Alzheimer’s Day, Mac’s family is releasing a full album of songs, with 25 percent of proceeds going to The Alzheimer’s Society. The album is called The Songaminute Man, a nickname Mac earned for his vast knowledge of songs.

On his website, Simon says sharing this time with his dad, who can be physically and verbally violent, reminds him of earlier times. “It was in these brief moments that he would be back to his old self,” said Simon.

Music has been shown not only to have therapeutic effects on dementia patients, but also dementia caregivers. Outside of a calming effect, some researchers say the way that Alzheimer’s patients access music when they’ve forgotten other memories can teach us a lot about how memories are retrieved and lost, and studying how that works may have the power to show us how to unlock the memories that Alzheimer’s takes away.

The album is available for purchase on songaminuteman.com.

2 thoughts on “Carpool Karaoke Allows Father and Son to Connect, Despite Alzheimer’s

  1. I love that song. It is truly very special how you and you’re dad can share your love of music and how it soothes him. My mom perks up when she hears music too and she has the same disease as your dad. Although she has lost her ability to speak, her feet still move to the beat. Please keep singing! It is an absolute joy to hear you and your dad singing

  2. I love this – for Mac and Simon! I smiled the whole way through, along with Simon. It can be rare occasions to find moments of connection with who are loved ones were, and still might be buried deep inside this terrible disease. My mother has this awful disease and it affects the whole family.
    People, support Alzheimer’s research for a cure; the occurrance of this is growing as fast as or faster than cancer, with sadly less funding. Most of you will be affected by this disease eventually, either yourself, a loved one or a friend. Currently, there is no cure or successful treatment. We MUST find one!

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