February 10, 2016

DVDs to help children understand about dementia in the family and about dealing with emotions

 
 
 
 
These resources are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au



 

Losing Peg : reflections on a journey with Alzheimer's disease


 6 interviews - with Peg’s husband Bryan, Peg and Bryan together, two long time friends, then Peg and Bryan’s three daughters, three grandchildren, and finally two more of their eight grandchildren - this dvd portrays each of their perspectives on their relationships with Peg before and during her journey with Alzheimer’s. It offers a rare opportunity for viewers to gain, at the same time both a more in depth and a broader insight into the myriad of challenges faced by people with dementia and those supporting them. I thank the staff at the Library and Information Service at Alzheimers Australia New South Wales for the opportunity to view this dvd when visiting there June 2012. I now plan to purchase a copy.Vivienne Boyd, Education Co-ordinator, Alzheimers Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand.
This DVD would be good to show to children who have a parent or grandparent with dementia.  Peg's grandchildren talk about how they feel about their grandmother's illness, how they relate to her, how it affects their family and how they cope.  Other children might be interested to see dementia from this perspective. 

finding-nemo-dvdFinding Nemo,

Although not immediately a dementia film, in Finding Nemo the character of Dory exhibits dementia-like symptoms which may help a younger child understand and experience dementia in a film.
This film, about a fish called Marlin looking for his lost son, Nemo, with the help of an often-forgetful and distracted fish called Dory. Dementia is not directly referred to in the film. Instead, Dory describes her condition as ‘short term memory loss that runs in the family’. As a result, the short term memory issues that can be experienced as part of dementia are front-and-centre, however the film also showcases Dory as a real person, not a caricature and someone who is able to contribute in her own right to her friend’s predicament. It shows some of the challenges of dementia, where some very routine procedural activities remain perfectly intact whilst other newer memories are tenuous and readily forgotten.
Finding Nemo also deals with Dory’s own anxiety, frustration and sometimes sadness with the limitations of her short term memory issues.
Overall, for younger children this could be a good film as a discussion piece to expand on a child’s experience of dementia and perhaps through Dory, their feelings about dementia.



Inside out

What Do Child Psychiatrists Think of Pixar's 'Inside Out'? They Love It
Inside Out is perhaps the only major motion picture ever to deal so directly with the inner workings of a child's mind. So we sent a half-dozen child psychiatrists to the movie (separately), wondering what they'd make of its depiction. Surprise: They mostly loved it. Though defiantly unscientific, Inside Out, it turns out, is filled with genuine insight on child emotional development.
"I've never seen a movie like this that talks about the brain and the emotional part of the brain in kids," said Dr. Fadi Haddad, who has a practice in Manhattan and opened one of the first child psychiatric emergency rooms in the country. Haddad was struck by the chaotic interplay between Riley's emotional components: "You can be angry and sad at the same time. You can be happy and afraid. Those emotions are very difficult for kids to understand."
Dr. Elisabeth Guthrie, a child psychiatrist who teaches at Columbia University Medical Center, plans to use the film in sessions with children.
"I thought it was helpful in putting feelings into words, for helping kids identify their feelings and start a dialogue about it," Guthrie told Newsweek. “If a kid is feeling sad or if a kid is acting out and they’ve seen that movie, I can use that as a reference point.”
Sadness, both a nuisance and a downer, proves its (and her?) worth as the film progresses; Joy realizes that Riley can’t adequately communicate her mental state without it. Several experts emphasized the lesson that plot point contains.
“I like the idea that basically Sadness saved the life of this child,” Dr. Haddad said. “I thought that was a brilliant ending in the movie, to see the importance of having a feeling like Sadness. That’s what connects us many times to families, to sad events, to friends, to understanding the meaning of empathy.”
“The thing that it really highlighted was how important emotions are—not just the positive and happy ones,” added Dr. Erica Chin, a clinical psychologist who works in the child and adolescent psychiatry unit of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “Early in the movie—I don’t remember the exact quote—but the parents are like, ‘Be my strong girl.’ So I was taken with the fact that the movie put in the position that sadness is OK and sadness is reasonable to feel.”
There is also the depiction of memories. Inside Out imagines them as color-coded, marble-like spheres maintained in a massive storage facility. (It looks a little bit like the sprawling Department of Mysteries, from Harry Potter.) Crucially, they're not fixed; a visit from Sadness can turn a happy memory sad, an aspect of the film that's been praised by neuroscientists. That's right on, said Dr. Chin: "Memories are not so concrete.... I think they did a good job of capturing that memories can be reframed. As therapists we're often saying, 'Can you look at this memory and see it from a different perspective.'"

Dr. Haddad noticed how Riley became confused by her own bright memories, thinking that a return trip to Minnesota would restore her to happiness without the family that made her happy. "We see children who run away from home because they have fights with their parents, but they miss the point that that connection was what made them happy," he said.

While washing dishes after seeing the film, Dr. Kalikow found himself laughing as he imagined the memories then popping into his head as little marbles. He liked Inside Out's depiction of the subconscious. "It really does a great job of elucidating, in a way that's visual, all the different parts of the brain."

Just as imaginitively, dreams are shown as surreal productions thrown together in a slapdash movie studio, with actors hopping in and out. The resulting dreams shift from happy to sad to frightening with manic abandon. "All things can exist as true simultaneously," said Dr. Oliver Stroeh, the associate director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "I thought the idea of filters was particularly clever. There's presumed objective reality, but then it gets distorted in our minds."

Every psychiatrist seemed to love the movie, even with its non-scientific quirks and oddities.

But some of them issued disclaimers.

"There are no little people in children's heads pushing buttons and controlling emotions," Dr. Joseph stressed. "But I thought that the spirit of it was in the right place."

"It was fun to see the few trillion synapses that are in a person's brain be reduced to funny little characters and a graphic typography of mountains and holes and buildings and islands," said Dr. Kalikow.

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