15 Famous Songs About Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Updated

Watching someone slip away to dementia or Alzheimer’s is challenging. Although the person you love is still alive, you might feel like they’re no longer the person you know and love.

Though it can’t entirely ease the pain involved in seeing a loved one struggle with dementia, music may offer some comfort. 

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Many artists across a range of genres have lost loved ones to dementia and Alzheimer’s. So it comes as no surprise that there are many songs about the subject.

Whether you’re planning a funeral for someone you lost to dementia, looking for a song to help you cope with your feelings, or putting together a playlist as part of a gift for a dementia patient, the below pieces are all beautiful expressions of sorrow and love.

Country Songs About Dementia

Songs about dementia and Alzheimer’s are quite common in the country genre. The following are some noteworthy examples:

1. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” by Glen Campbell

Songs about dementia are usually the work of artists who’ve watched loved ones struggle with this condition. 

In the unique case of “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” acclaimed country artist Glen Campbell wrote this song about himself. He recorded it in response to the many people wondering how he was coping with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

2. “Moving Oleta” by Reba McEntire

“Moving Oleta” is one of the most devastating songs about dementia you’ll ever hear. It describes an older man watching as the love of his life succumbs to her condition. Ultimately, the woman who once loved him so deeply doesn’t know who he is.

3. “While He Still Knows Who I Am” by Kenny Chesney

This song expresses a feeling that many who have loved ones with dementia can relate to — the desire to reconnect with a family member while they can still remember you. 

It’s also an option if you’re on the hunt for funeral songs for Dad.

4. “Forever Changed” by Carrie Underwood

Change is an inevitable part of life. Some changes, such as becoming a parent, are joyful. Others, such as developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, are painful. 

Regardless, as Carrie Underwood points out in this song, no one change can define someone’s entire life.

Pop, Rock, or Hip-Hop Songs About Dementia

Country musicians aren’t the only artists who have released songs about dementia. There are songs from all genres that apply. 

5. “Veronica” by Elvis Costello

Like so many Elvis Costello tunes, “Veronica” has a light and somewhat poppy musical quality that can make it easy to overlook the sadness in its lyrics. 

This song describes a woman whose dementia has robbed her of her identity. Others call her Veronica, but she can barely remember who Veronica is, let alone that Veronica is her own name.

6. “My Mom” by Chocolate Genius

“My Mom” explores the mixed feelings many who’ve seen loved ones struggle with dementia deeply understand.

The track details the comforting feelings of nostalgia a person experiences when returning to their childhood home. 

Yet, there is pain in this experience too. While much of the singer's home hasn’t changed since he was young, one aspect is very different. The singer’s mother now has dementia and doesn’t remember him.

7. “I Will Remind You” by Brian Asselin

This song touches on one of the simplest yet most meaningful gestures we can offer to our loved ones when we see them lose their memories.

Loved ones with dementia might ask who the family members in a picture are or even who you are. Moments like this may feel excruciating, but this song encourages us to gently remind them. Sometimes, that’s enough.

8. “Afire Love”  by Ed Sheeran

Watching a loved one struggle with dementia can be particularly difficult when they reach a stage in which they no longer recognize you. Ed Sheeran captures this pain magnificently in this song about his grandfather.

Songs About Losing Someone to Dementia

Some of the best music is derived from pain. The pain of losing someone to dementia has inspired the following tracks.

9. “The Way” by Fastball

This is a song about dementia that sounds like nothing more than a catchy pop-rock tune when you first hear it.

But if you listen carefully to the lyrics, you’ll hear a tragic story. The song’s writers took inspiration from the true story of Texas couple Lela and Raymond Howard. 

Lela Howard was battling Alzheimer’s, and Raymond Howard was recovering from brain surgery when the elderly couple decided to take a short road trip to a nearby festival.

Sadly, the two never made it to their destination when their vehicle drifted off the road. “The Way” puts a hopeful spin on their tragic passing. It describes the couple heading to an afterlife where they could leave behind the pains of this world.

10. “She Misses Him” by Tim Rushlow

Even before they die, when someone has dementia, it can feel like you’ve already lost them. “She Misses Him” captures this feeling by telling the story of a wife who cares for a husband with dementia. It details her struggle with the pain of knowing the man he once was is gone.

11. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”  by Pink Floyd

This song isn’t technically about losing someone to dementia. The subject of Pink Floyd’s epic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is original member Syd Barrett. He developed severe mental illness before the band could achieve significant success.

The touching way in which his friends simultaneously reflect on the pain of watching his mind slip away while also encouraging him to “shine on” may offer some comfort to those who have lost loved ones to dementia.

Songs About Dementia for a Funeral or Memorial 

Choosing the right funeral or memorial song can be a challenge. If you’ve lost someone to dementia, these suggestions might help.

12. “She’s Gonna Fly” by Collin Raye

Like many of the best funeral songs, this track strikes a delicate balance. It truthfully describes the anger and frustration we may feel when we watch loved ones who were once so vibrant and full of life slip away. Yet it also expresses the hopeful notion that when a loved one ultimately does pass, they’ll fly off on angel wings.

13. “Ellsworth” by Rascal Flatts

This song isn’t strictly about someone dying of dementia. However, it offers a hopeful message that may be comforting during the funeral or memorial service for someone lost to dementia.

The song’s lyrics describe a woman whose memories fade. Along with her memories, she begins to lose her joy for life. This only changes when someone brings up the topic of her husband. Suddenly, she can remember the early days of their courtship. These memories restore her joy. 

If you’ve lost someone to dementia, it might be comforting to imagine that they’ve now returned to a time when they were happiest.

14. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

This song also isn’t specifically about the topic of dementia. Eric Clapton wrote it as a tribute to his infant son, who passed away in a tragic accident.

That said, since its release, many have taken comfort in its lyrics, regardless of whether they’re mourning a child or another loved one.

The lyrics ask the question, “Would you know my name if I saw you in Heaven?” This line can resonate powerfully with a family who has lost a loved one to dementia. 

15. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

“Unforgettable” is a popular funeral song for many reasons. It may be particularly ideal for the funeral of someone who had dementia. The lyrics suggest that some of life’s greatest joys, such as love, are impossible to forget.

Finding Peace in Music

Songs about dementia may seem deeply sad, but they can also remind us to celebrate the happy times we shared with loved ones. Sometimes, a song that speaks to our feelings of grief can help us feel less alone. They can also return us, even for a moment, to the memories and joy that remain even after loss.

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