August 01, 2016

a gentle look at dementia on DVDs

and driving ...
Set in Atlanta in the 1950's, a textile factory owner insists on hiring an ever-patient chauffeur for his aging head-strong mother. The Jewish woman and her African American driver eventually build a relationship over many years.

On Golden Pond [DVD]
This classic film from 1981 stars Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, it shows the conflicts between three generations as the Thayers, a crotchety old professor and his wife, spend their summer together on a lake in New England. The couple agrees to mind their estranged daughter's boyfriend's child, while the daughter and her boyfriend go on a trip. The boy bonds with the old man in a way his daughter never did. Shows the terrors and graces of aging.



 
Still mine
 This is an intimate portrait of Frank, a man in his late eighties who finds himself caring for his wife of 61 years. Whilst no formal diagnosis is ever made, it is apparent that Irene has dementia and requires more support to continue to live at home. Facing the realities of their changing circumstances, Frank decides to build a dwelling more suitable than their long-term family home and is thrust into the contemporary world of permits, plans, building codes and the consequences of not complying with these restrictions.
Whilst taking on more tasks within the home, to compensate for Irene’s changing abilities, Frank also contends with the concerns of his seven children and their preference to have Irene, or possibly both Frank and Irene, getting professional care or support. Still Mine is ultimately a story about a relationship between husband and wife and their staunch determination to remain together and care for one another. At times, this means other family members are excluded and disregarded. Yet no one doubts their devotion to one another. It is a story of empowerment and acceptance in very stressful circumstances. Whilst their situation bends them, it does not break them and Still Mine is, among other things, a story of triumph.
Untouchable [DVD]
Untouchable is both heartbreaking and, at times, very funny. The two men discover that they both have disadvantages in life – one a physical disability, the other socioeconomic. The film confronts the emotional and physical implications of paralysis, and the way that society makes disabled people invisible or "untouchable".



 
fireflyFirefly dreams,
A Japanese sub-titled film about a troubled teenage girl who forges an unlikely friendship with an older person with dementia, becoming her carer and companion. This coming of age story focuses on 17 year old Naomi, sent to spend the summer holidays with her aunt in a small Japanese village whilst her parents navigate their separation and increasing inability to cope with Naomi’s behaviour. Initially, Naomi is stifled by the slower pace and physical demands of working with her aunt’s family in the hotel they run. She misses the city and is frustrated by her cousin, Yumi. Naomi goes to visit Mrs Koide, whom she knows from her childhood and at first is baffled by the inconsistencies in her elderly relative’s behaviour. As the summer passes, Naomi grows closer to Mrs Koide and her aunt’s family and whilst sometimes puzzled by Mrs Koide’s abrupt changes of topic, she tolerates and supports Mrs Koide’s needs.
Dementia is not overtly referred to in this film and the carer role that Naomi occupies is quite lightweight – focused on companionship rather than the day-to-day requirements of caring. The representation of dementia in this film focuses on some fairly mild forgetfulness, the person with dementia revisiting and re-enacting key past life experiences and some hospitalisation scenes.
In this film, the person with dementia dies and the implication is that her death was directly linked to dementia
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
 
 

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