On January 20, 2015, a grassroots campaign to raise funds for and awareness about Alzheimer’s and end stigma was launched by the release of the song “Remember Me,” sung by Chris Mann. Proceeds from the sale of the song go to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (CAF). “Cure Alzheimer's Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research with the highest probability of preventing, slowing or reversing Alzheimer's disease through venture-based philanthropy.” Since the founders of CAF cover all overhead costs, fully 100% of donations raised go directly to Alzheimer’s research. This makes The CAF unique in its ability to address the slow pace of research and make a direct difference, today, which we so desperately need.
I have followed Chris Mann since his time on the TV show, “The Voice." He has an amazing voice, trained as a classical singer, but in the show I also admired his outlook on life. He sent the message that we should honor people and their differences instead of trying to make everyone fit into boxes that do not allow them to thrive. I am not surprised that he collaborated to create a song about dementia, a group of people our society often shuts out because they do not fit into the boxes we think they should.
As described by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund:
“Remember Me” was written by artist Chris Mann and neuroscientist Dr. Rudy Tanzi along with Laura Mann and Willy Beaman. The song captures the perspective of someone who is losing his or her memories to the disease. Mann and Tanzi created the song as a tribute to families touched by Alzheimer's, and to put greater national focus on this devastating disease.”
What I love about this song is that it does not go into catastrophizing the illness and making up a lot of assumptions about dementia that end up scaring people and promoting stigma against the disease. There have been other songs about dementia that were very much focused on the idea that a person with dementia is gone and has nothing- that they can not even feel love for their family anymore. None of that is supported by the current research in dementia and it is sad to see dementia portrayed in this way. What is supported in the research, and what we do know is that people with dementia retain their emotions and emotional connections, even to people they seem not to remember anymore. We also know that the early stages of dementia are very hard because the person with dementia feels their memories fading and feels a loss of connection, which is very difficult for them. We also know that many people with dementia do not recognize their environment or themselves at times. (A great book about this is Hiding the Stranger in the Mirror by Dr. Cameron Camp.) We also know that as soon as a person gets an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, other people start to forget them. Many friends and family stop engaging with them due to this illness.
“Remember Me” reflects these points about dementia, especially in its refrain:
“When I can’t find the words that I’m trying to speak,
When I don’t know the face in the mirror I see,
When I feel I’m forgotten and lost in this world,
Won’t you please remember me?”
“Remember Me” in an honest and beautiful song that increases compassion and understanding of dementia. I think it is the perfect anthem for dementia and it will help many people with dementia and their families. Our society needs this because we still judge people with dementia negatively and have very little compassion for them.
If you would like to help “Remember Me” raise awareness and raise funds, please watch the video, and then share it on social media with #RememberMe. They are also asking, if you are comfortable doing so, that people take pictures of themselves, like the one of me at the start of this post, with a sign that says #RememberMe and #RememberNameOfYourLovedOne. Post your photo on social media and be sure to tag Chris Mann and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund when you post on Facebook.