Several titles stand out from the films I’ve seen from my Netflix queue lately. The top two, while not fun are intensely engaging. Both address Alzheimer’s Disease.
Seriously, I don’t recall intentionally selecting the two titles, I’ll Be Me and Still Alice. And yet like many Late Boomers memory loss is one of the first symptoms. I can’t say how many times a week I enter a room and wonder, “Now, what am I doing here?” Living with my 20-something niece who also does the same thing almost as frequently reassures me sufficiently today – misery still loves company. Even so, these movies broadened my awareness.
Though I don’t agree with every idea suggested in both films, I definitely agree we must all invest to help understand and control the ravages of this disease. A particular common thread in both films left me feeling more hopeful for mankind; both victims remained within the embraces and care of their families, regardless of the hardships. Over the years I witnessed families place their infirmed in nursing and assisted living facilities, assigning their care and well being to trained professionals. While sometimes necessary, this can add to the victims’ confusion, anxiety and additional stress. Most families organize and arrange for constant visits with their loved ones. Occasionally some families can not.
Image From The I’ll Be Me Alzheimer’s Fund
An early fan of Glen Campbell, I wept through much of I’ll Be Me and the stark images of the Glen Campbell Family’s experiences. Like no one else could adequately convey, each member of the family enhanced the film’s dimension. Viewers can easily grasp the full spectrum of emotions as the whole family supports Glen throughout his steady deterioration. However, Glen’s astounding ability to consistently find his way back to himself through music on and off stage continues to amaze me days later.
Many people identify with the Rhinestone Cowboy image, but I recall one of Glen’s slightly more obscure messages that still rings true today, Try a Little Kindness. Regardless of one’s preferred music genres, most can relate to and some love Glen Campbell’s touching lyrics and guitar mastery.
What appears to be a tragically accurate illustration of another highly functioning family’s experience with Alzheimer’s, Still Alice is based on the 2007 bestselling novel by Lisa Genova. Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin portray John and Alice Howland. Alice, a 50-year-old linguistics professor, becomes concerned about memory issues and is ultimately diagnosed as having familial Alzheimer’s disease. Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish play their children, Lydia, Anna and Tom.* While the married daughter, mother-to-be coped admirably, I especially appreciate the genuine relationship dynamics portrayed between Alice and their younger, unmarried daughter, Lydia.
The personal, social and financial devastation of Alzheimers is not a pleasant reality. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015 “of the 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, an estimated 5.1 million people are age 65 and older, and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 (younger-onset Alzheimer’s).”
“My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.” Psalm 71:7-9 (NLT)
*Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_Alice The official movie poster for the film Still Alice, Copyright: Sony Classics, Source: WP:NFCC#4, https://twitter.com/alzassociation/status/526747191042273280 Use in article WP:NFCC#7, Still Alice, Purpose of use in article(WP:NFCC#8), to serve as the primary means of visual identification at the top of the article dedicated to the work in question. Not replaceable with free media., minimal use (WP:NFCC#3) will only be used at primary means of visual identification/, and used without commercial opportunities.