Lately I have been closely following the progress of the Songaminute Man, aka Ted McDermott and his Son Simon as they raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Ted who is eighty years of age was diagnosed with Dementia in 2013 and has felt the consequences of this degenerative condition. As a way of coping with the more difficult days Ted and his Son have taken to the car with their backing tracks and have made some amazing videos of Ted singing. His distinctive voice is reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and it is the repertoire of the great American songbook that seems to ignite Ted’s passion for singing. So far the pair have raised over £100,000 for the charity which supports people with dementia and their carers.
This inspiring story presents us, in a very real way, how singing can benefit those with dementia. Ted has been singing all his life, and it is something that he is very familiar with, but you do not have to have been a singer to enjoy the benefits of singing!
10 Good Reasons to Sing
- It is a great social activity- and is great for social cohesion and bonding.
- It is a great tool for reminiscence. People may be prompted to remember events from their lives through listening to and singing songs.
- Music often forms part of our identities and this can be expressed through singing.
- Singing encourages people to be creative.
- It is a great mood enhancer- energizing or it can be relaxing!
- Physically it tones the lungs, and strengthens the diaphragm. It also improves posture!
- It is a great aid in reducing low mood, depression and anxiety.
- Anyone can do it! You need no musical experience.
- Encourages language and communication.
- Encourages focus and concentration.
Ted gives us a positive picture of a person with Dementia. All too often we see people in terms of what they can not do and the challenges they face. But Ted’s story presents us with a different view. He is empowered and confident through his singing. He is making thousands of people smile through an appreciation of his music and the videos in which he sings. In a world that can be challenging to understand, Ted appears to find order and comfort in singing the songs of his life- his confidence shines through.
As a fan, I am motivated and recognise the amazing fund-raising results that Ted’s work is providing for the Alzheimer’s society. But I am equally encouraged by the immensely positive public profile of a person with dementia. It makes us think doesn’t it? It challenges us to ask what a person is capable of as opposed to what they are unable to do. And that can only be a good thing!
Below are links to watch Ted and his Son on youtube.