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Caregiver Inspiration – Living with Alzheimer’s

Posted Sep 17 2013 8:53am

Bestselling author (The Forgetting) and Alzheimer’s expert David Shenk commissioned four original short films to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. Italicized comments are by The Caregiver’s Voice.

A Place Called Pluto by Steve James  Commissioned by David Shenk

Click image to watch video on host website.

A Place Called Pluto , a 10-minute film by Academy-Award®-nominated director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters)

Shenk’s book “The Forgetting” inspired James to make “A Place Called Pluto.” “The film … tells a complete story–a snapshot of this time and place coping with this illness,” James says. “It’s a satisfying story, a hard story, and a moving one, I hope.”

Greg O’Brien, long-time Cape Cod reporter and newspaperman, has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Greg is facing the disease and his imminent decline by writing frankly about the journey. He narrates the story.

With all the research pointing to higher-educated people and/or those who use their brains for complex tasks and thought, how can this reporter be diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s? Sometimes, no matter what we do, we cannot stem the destiny of our genes, as O’Brien knows. I admire his fortitude to run several miles at dusk to fight against the “Alzheimer’s monster” that overtakes him in the evening. Truly moving commentary from his wife and children.


De 'mem'bunce - Living with Alzheimer's video - by Roger Ross Williams

Click to watch video on host website.

De ‘mem’bunce (The Remembrance) , an 8-minute film by Academy-Award®-winner Roger Ross Williams.

The Gullah, descendants of slaves residing in “the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia,” are a proud people who have historically refused outside help. Overcoming this stigma, Lou Ethel Hill-Ford and her family seek assistance from an innovative Alzheimer’s center in Hilton Head.

Lou Ethel forgets what she’s saying in mid-sentence yet can sing all the verses of Amazing Grace. A strong woman who raised a family and walked six miles to church each Sunday, now she needs help.


Alzheimer’s is the greatest thief of the rich and the poor,
the educated and the uneducated.
It is important to seek help, as we cannot navigate this road alone.


My Little Friends, by Academy-Award®-winner Megan Mylan.

In a custom-designed facility in Mt. Kisco, New York, a very special program focusing on inter-generational care brings elders with dementia together with young children. The kids look right past the dementia, connecting instead with the people who have gotten lost underneath.

Truly powerful and mutually beneficial for giving purpose to elders with dementia while giving kids the loving attention they need to grow.

Let the Band Play On, by Emmy award-winner Naomi Boak.

Twice a month, the dance therapy group Rhythm Break Cares leads a ballroom dancing session at the 80th Street Residence, an assisted living facility for people with dementia in New York City. Residents, health aides, and family are all transformed by the power of music and dance.

For more information about all of the films, visit the “ Living with Alzheimer’s Project launches with new documentaries .”

Created by David Shenk in partnership with Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, this “Living with Alzheimer’s” project was funded by the MetLife Foundation.

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