Saturday, February 28, 2015

Alzheimers Movies, Books and Songs

Alzheimer's Disease in Movies and Songs

It's hard to have the time to escape when you're in the midst of caretaking for
Promotional poster for 1985
Do You Remember Love

Dave Bell Associates, Inc. 
someone with Alzheimers or dementia. When you get a break, it's sometimes hard to relax your mind. It's also easy to feel that you're all alone in this. September is World Alzheimer's Month. 

While your situation is completely unique, it's got a similarity to what others have gone through and are going through and there are people you can talk to for support. Being a dementia caregiver can be isolating. Watching a movie together may help get discussions going within the family.

There are movies and songs you can sample on the Amazon site if you choose to do so. Watch a trailer. Sometimes watching or listening might finally give you that excuse to cry for the first time in a long time. 

They may help to relieve a bit of your caregiver stress if only for a moment. Many of the items on this page, CDs, DVDs, etc make wonderful caregiver gifts.

I'm including what were some of the most helpful informative books and documentaries on video, too. Mostly, this page has movies and songs that deal with getting older, caregiving or directly with Alzheimers. If you're one of the many Alzheimer's and/or dementia caregivers out there, please leave any more you might know of in the comment section at the end.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Is a progressive and fatal brain disease. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer's gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. The web site and books can help you with the Warning Signs and Stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

September is World Alzheimer's Month. Think about participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer's or sponsoring a walker.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

It has no current cure. But treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer's. There is an accelerating worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset or prevent it from developing. 

Iris about the author Iris Murdoch

Alzheimer's Themed Films to stream, get on DVD - Helping you to realize that you're not alone

Films to consider:

Iris, a film about the English author Iris Murdoch Stars include Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent who won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville.

I Never Sang for My Father: with Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman, director Gilbert Cates

The Savages: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Firefly Dreams: A Japanese film with Maho, Tsutomu Niwa, Etsuko Kimata, Shunsuke Kabeya, Atsushi Ono

Sundowning: Minor Rootes, Steve Jones, director Jim Cole
You may find them on DVD or on television

Still Alice, Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her performance. Costars are Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, and Kristen Stewart. Still Alice is available for pre-order. You may want to read Lisa Genova’s best selling novel.

U Me Aur Hum: Bollywood DVD with Ajay Devgan and Kajol, director: Ajay Devgan

Tracy & Jess: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer's 

The Alzheimer's Project 4-part HBO documentary Maria Shriver

The documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me includes the song I'm Not Gonna Miss You which was an Academy Award nominee. Tim McGraw sang the song as a tribute to the singer at the awards ceremony in February 2015 when Campbell was not able to attend.
I'm Not Gonna Miss You, Glen Campbell

Hanging Up
The film received mixed reviews but is a good look at family and how you may deal with an
aging parent.
"Hanging Up deserves credit for combining issues of sisterhood and elderly parent care while relying on neuroses to carry its unconventional plot.

But you've also got to lament this botched "dramedy" from screenwriting sisters Nora and Delia Ephron (adapting the latter's novel) and director Diane Keaton, who lacks a coherent plan for illuminating their trio of female siblings."

Three sisters bond over their ambivalence toward the approaching death of their curmudgeonly father, to whom none of them was particularly close - Amazon

Video contains
Deleted sequence

Outake Gag Reel
HBO First Look: Getting Connected, the Making of Hanging Up.
Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, Delia Ephron and Nora Ephron

Variety of Films, Documentaries, DVDs helpful to, made by, about and specifically for caregivers

Sandwich: Film about a woman handling her mother's Alzheimer's while bringing up her own daughter

Edith and Michel 

Forget Me Not

The Forgetting Featuring David Hyde Pierce

A Short History of Decay

Grace: The Alzheimer's Documentary, William-Whiteford

Alzheimer's Dementia Hands-On Care DVD: "The Art of Caregiving" with Care Expert Teepa Snow. There are several titles with high user ratings to choose from: Alzheimer's Care with Teepa Snow

Academy Award Nominated Short Films

A Collection of 2006 Academy Award Nominated Short Films
Academy Award Nominated Short Films including.....(Not Alzheimer's specific themes, but these are a couple of very good short films with older characters) Included in the set are:

Eramos Pocos (One Too Many) (Spain)
In this comedy, Joaquin, a husband and father, finds that his wife has left him. Joaquin seeks his son's help in bringing home his mother-in-law from the nursing home to do the housework. Beautifully portrayed with an interesting turn of events.

Helmer & Son (Denmark)
A son is called to the rest home where his recently admitted father has locked himself inside a closet. Distinguished by a good dialogue, the short provides an insight on the relationship of father and son.

 Do you remember love? 1985 TV movie
Joanne Woodward

Joanne Woodward
CBS film about Alzheimer's Disease. This isn't easily found, but being from  the mid-1980s, it was a landmark film and important to talk about. In a year with other fine performances, Ms. Woodward won the  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie for her role.

Barbara Wyatt-Hollis is an English professor who begins to fall under the effects of Alzheimer's. The film documents her decline and the emotional turmoil it causes for her. It also shows how the changes impact her husband, George and their children. The film also looks at the process by which families can be educated and supported to deal with the impact of the disease, as well what is done for those afflicted.

Excerpts from a March 1985 New York Times article about the movie;

"Cancer, heart disease and disabling strokes have already served as the bases of television dramas, and now Mr. Bell's company has just completed shooting a movie about Alzheimer's disease, Do You Remember Love, for CBS. The disease, a neurological disorder that causes loss of memory and confusion - which may leave victims incapable of caring for themselves - currently affects more than two million Americans and has no known cure.

"The film was directed by Jeff Bleckner, who won an Emmy last year for his direction of Concealed Enemies, the PBS dramatization of the Alger Hiss case. Joanne Woodward stars as an award-winning poet and college professor stricken with Alzheimer's disease; Richard Kiley co-stars as her husband, and Geraldine Fitzgerald plays her mother. The movie will be broadcast in May.

"Although the film makers were initially wary of doing another affliction drama, they concluded that this one had qualities that set it apart from the routine tear-jerkers. 'There's something about this disease which is especially frightening, because it attacks the most precious thing we have as human beings, our mental faculties,' Mr. Bleckner said.

"Although there is little hope for victims of the disease, Mr. Bell said Miss Patik's script still found a way to accentuate the positive. 'In the film,'' he said, 'Joanne's family becomes closer because of the disease. They cope with tragedy in a very loving way.'

For Miss Woodward, the subject had more than clinical interest. The actress's mother, Mr. Bleckner said, is an Alzheimer's victim. 'I think Joanne was often quite depressed while doing the film,' Mr. Bleckner said. 'On our last day, we shot in a real convalescent home with many victims of Alzheimer's disease. Joanne got very quiet, and you could tell that it upset her. But she's a consummate professional, and her work was never affected.'"

Alzheimers Disease Cross & Heart Tee Shirt
by fightcancertees
There are many shirt designs to choose from,
Personalize and customize

Retro Vintage Kitsch Poster A Year From Now? T Shirt
by seemonkee

Spending time with those we love.
It can be frustrating, it's tough, it's important

~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~

Songs and Music

Neighbor Dan song about early-onset Alzheimer's
- Dave Maloney

Silent House by The Dixie Chicks
can be found on the CD, Taking The Long Way
Amazon Prime members get a very special deal on this and other MP3s

This is one of the songs on this page that we listened to when we were caregiving for some of the family members who've lived with Alzheimer's Disease.

Silent House, Emily Robison excerpt

One room
Two single beds
In the closet hangs
Your favorite dress
The books that you read
Are in scattered piles
Of paper shreds

Everything that you made by hand
Everything that you know by heart

And I will try to connect
All the pieces you left
I will carry it on
And let you forget
And I'll remember the years
When your mind was clear
How the laughter and life
Filled up this silent house
Silent house

Tom Paxton
Live For the Record
Tom Paxton Live: For the Record
He's forgotten the names of trees
This CD includes the poignant Names Of Trees
excerpt of the lyrics by Tom Paxton and Susan Graham White:

... There are days when he'll recall the forest in the fall,
When we can walk for hours together, and he's fine
There are precious days like that
when he can name them all;
The ash, the elm, the beech, the oak, the pine.
He's forgotten the names of trees ...

Live for the Record  may sell out, be temporarily sold out at elsewhere. Please also try link above.
Live albums don't usually stay in my rotation for too long, and only the best overtly political material stays fresh in my experience. So I'm surprised at how much I still like Live For the Record after nearly four years. As you know if you've been to a Tom Paxton concert in recent years, he starts off his concerts with what he calls "short shelf-life" songs - brief songs about current events that are, in his own words "of diminishing interest to us all."

This disc opens with a clutch of such songs on mid-1990s people and events such as Lorena Bobbitt, Bob Packwood and the 104th Congress; they do sound dated now, but they're still good for a laugh. More seriously, On the Road to Sribinica is the most positively haunting of the few Bosnia songs I've heard; this alone is worth the price of the disc. From there, Paxton switches back and forth with remarkable ease from the serious to the sentimental to the hilarious, a skill which has always been his strongest point as a songwriter and performer.

His band is in fine form throughout the show; it's often hard to believe this was a live recording! There are great renditions of most of his classics (The Last Thing on my Mind, Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound, Ramblin' Boy) as well as his trademark love songs (Dance in the Kitchen, You Are Love) and satire (Modern Maturity and an updating of What Did You Learn in School? that never fails to make my Republican friends angry!) -- Amazon

For My Broken Heart Reba McEntire MP3s or CD 

The album was Reba's first new album in a few years, after the tragic death of her band on a plane. The pain and remorse is evident in her voice, on the title track, which is one of her best songs from the 90's.

Elsewhere, the album offers other great songs which will forever be remembered. Is There Life Out There is another great song about a mother who is working a job, raising two kids and going to college. Its a spirited performance by Reba, who gives the song life.

Her cover of The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia is a great performance as well, as if the song was written for her to sing it. The album shows Reba's ability as a singer to convey different emotions and to get the message she wants to send out to the listener. 

Other highlights include He's In Dallas, If I Had Only Known and Buying Her Roses. A must have. Give it a listen. -- Amazon

Not intended for to be about loss of memory, Too Many Memories is from the Tom Rush CD, What I Know. The song is available on MP3

Once a future so bright now seems distant and cold
And the shadows grow long and your eyes look so old
When there's too many memories for one heart to hold
Now there are those moments
And they just never fade
Like the look in her eyes
And the way the light played

God moved in that moment
And the angels all cried
And they gave you a memory
that you'll have til you die
And the lesson you've learned
And you don't dare forget
What makes you grow old is replacing hope with regret
When there's too many memories for one heart to hold 

Neurologist and author, Dr. Oliver Sacks speaks about music and memory

Alzheimer's: The Answers You Need
A book to answer questions for the person with the disease

Many books about Alzheimer's disease assume that family caregivers or professionals are reading them. Alzheimer's: The Answers You Need is the first book written expressly for the patient. The book assumes that people with AD are intelligent, sensitive and desperately seeking answers to questions about their condition. Moreover, the book does not overwhelm with information nor does it condescend in attempts to convey a point.-- Amazon

I Remember Better When I Paint: Art and Alzheimer's Choose DVD and/or paperback book to accompany. "
I Remember Better When I Paint, narrated by Olivia de Havilland, is a documentary about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer's and how these approaches can change the way we look at the disease."

The 36-Hour Day A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
This is the book that our relative's doctors suggested. It was very helpful to us. Choose the most recent edition.
It has been estimated that five percent of older people suffer from severe intellectual impairment. So these two eloquent and readable guides will be much in demand as the number of families facing the challenge of caring for a relative with some form of dementing illness continues to grow.

First published in 1981, The 36-Hour Day follows the format of the previous editions but has been thoroughly updated to incorporate new information on the latest research, several drugs that hold promise, and genetic aspects of Alzheimer's. The heart of the guide remains unchanged, focusing on helping families cope with this progressive and irreversible disease. Besides tips on how to care for the demented during the various stages of the disease (for example, place a picture of a toilet on the bathroom door), the text discusses the different kinds of help available and how to seek it. Financial and legal issues are well covered, while sections on nursing homes and other alternative living arrangements provide advice and practical suggestions.

Appendixes list recent books, videos, web sites, and U.S. and international organizations. Both titles are highly recommended: Rabins and Mace for the practical help and advice, Jones for her eloquent presentation of a comprehensive program that treats patients with dignity. Cleveland Clinic Fdn. (C) 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Please Note:
Other songs, films and books will be added. What are some that have helped you?
  ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~ ~o~o~o~

Related Pages of Interest:

Painting as Therapy for Persons with Alzheimers  

A list of celebrities with Alzheimer's Disease and/or Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease Programs at Museums: Art appreciation, therapy

Cinematic Journeys From One Traumatic Transition to Another: Puberty, Aging, Alzheimer's

Join Amazon Prime (Free Month; One Year Membership) Streaming Movies & TV Shipping Discounts and more - Watch Over 40,000 Movies, HBO shows & specials, Wide selection of new/old movies, foreign films and documentaries compared to other streaming video sites and the yearly price is about the same. 

1985: Joanne Woodward won the Emmy for her work in Do You Remember Love? There were so many strong performances by women in important and memorable films and miniseries that year. Several were taken from books. Other nominees for the Primetime Emmy that year included Farrah Fawcett in a much praised performance in The Burning Bed, a story about a battered wife. It was taken from a non-fiction book.  

Mary Tyler Moore in Heartsounds, playing Martha Weinman Lear former editor of The New York Times Magazine in a film dealing with heart disease. Jane Alexander for Malice in Wonderland which was based on the 1972 novel Hedda and Louella: A Dual Biography of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons. Elizabeth Taylor was Louella Parsons. Alexander was Hedda Hopper. Finally Peggy Ashcroft in the very popular The Jewel in the Crown.

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