Dealing with Alzheimer's

The subject of my next short film is Alzheimer's. June is Alzheimer's awareness month so I thought I would share my two fold story.

First, everyone I speak to about Dear Frank has had some personal connection to someone with dementia and/or Alzheimer's.  Its been a tragic and fascinating experience. This has touched so many people and they have all told me their personal stories. Stories about grandmothers and grandfathers who have been cherished family members, who then slide into some grey twilight. It's not an easy thing to see someone you know and love disappear. It's all one of our greatest fears.

So that brings me to the second part. A big part of this story is my own personal experience. I worked for a kind woman whose mother was in the last stages of Alzheimer's.  I saw the devastation it brought. Her mom was barely existing but she still needed to be cared for, she was still trying out new medications. She could barely communicate.  Then this tragedy hit closer to home. Dan's father was officially diagnosed. Though he's 84 and we hope he will not deteriorate quickly, his mental state has already brought challenges. There is a look of fear in everyone's eyes when we have to interact with him.  Will it be a good day? Will he remember what we're supposed to do?

Gene recently went to the dentist and became enraged because he could only remember what he thought they were going to do at his appointment. He becomes stuck on an idea sometimes. He'll repeat endlessly this one thought he has about a subject. So when reality intrudes, he doesn't know why. He can't understand why the outcome is different from this thought he's been holding in his mind.  It's honestly terrifying to watch most of the time.

It seems like we should know more about the brain at this point. All we can do is keep trying for a cure.



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