Feb 6, 2013

Alzheimer’s Experiences Told Through Film

You will find yourself smiling, laughing, relating to what you are seeing, shaking your head in agreement, empathizing and, most importantly, feeling understood.

By +Nancy Wurtzel
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 

Nancy Wurtzel
As the old saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’

If that is true, then moving pictures are worth an entire library.

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly a fan of words and images. As you can imagine, I spend a good part of my day online, either writing or reading what others have written. I also love still images, because a snapshot can capture so much in a single frame. When I look at a photograph, it makes me think deeply of what came before and what is to come after.

Through the still camera lens we can see so much about others, ourselves and the times in which we live.

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Yet, moving pictures -- film -- often brings everything together. Film crystallizes ideas and provokes thought like no other medium. It creates an experience that often stays with us long after we have forgotten a single image or the words on a page.

Below are some links to documentaries about Alzheimer's disease. Three of the links will take you to the full film or films, while other links will lead you to a substantial trailer that will give you a taste of what you can expect by ordering the full-length version.
Don't think these films are all doom and gloom.

Yes, they are about people with dementia and those who care for them. However, you will find yourself smiling, laughing, relating to what you are seeing, shaking your head in agreement, empathizing and, most importantly, feeling understood.

So, take a view. You won't be disappointed.

You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't. Lee Gorewitz, who has Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with incredible spirit to remember her old identity in a world outside of her new home. This documentary is the very first film that is told from the inside view of a person in an Alzheimer's care facility. To learn how you can view the entire film about Lee's journey, go to You're Looking at Me

The Sandwich Generation. Filmaker Julie Winokur, and husband, photojournalist Ed Kashi, chronicle their family's journey as they uproot their lives and move 3,000 miles to care for her father, Herbie, who has Alzheimer's disease. The film is a story of love and sacrifice, and it shows the enormous impact this terrible disease can have on one Sandwich Generation family. Visit the website to learn how you can view the entire film.

Choosing to Die. Prolific fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett announced in 2007 that he has early onset dementia. His moving journey to explore life and death options is detailed in this truly incredible film that won an Emmy last year. If I had to make a list of the people I would like to meet before I depart this world, Terry Pratchett would be on that list. Please watch this film to see why I feel this way.

Forgetful But Not Forgotten. This is an most interesting and moving piece of film-making, which tells the story of John Wynn who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 57. Weaving the past with the present, John's son Chris -- a Canadian filmmaker -- tells his father's story in a moving and heartwarming way. Visit the website for more information about how to order the entire documentary.

The Alzheimer's Project. This link will take you to the landing page for the HBO documentary series that was spearheaded by Maria Shriver. It is not just one but four incredible films about the Alzheimer's struggle. There is also some valuable information on their website and some additional videos that were produced after the original series aired. And, everything of HBO quality, so you know it will be good.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have the time to click on a few of the links. These moving pictures will make a lasting impression.

You may have a favorite documentary or film about dementia you would like to share, so please feel free to include any appropriate film suggestions in a comment.

Nancy Wurtzel
Nancy Wurtzel writes Dating Dementia -- slightly twisted and humorous blog -- about making big changes at midlife. Read about Nancy's journey through divorce, restarting a career, empty nest challenges, moving home, baby boomer issues and caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease. Visit Dating Dementia.

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