Here are some startling latest Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures from the Alzheimer's Association:
- More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion
- Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.
Pam White is one of those women. Her own mother, the renowned painter Marian Williams Steele, herself died of Alzheimer’s in 2001 at the age of 89. Ms. White was in the midst of writing a biography of her mother, entitled “The Genius of Marian” when she began exhibiting the signs of early-onset dementia. Because she was struggling with typing and other tasks, her filmmaker son, Banker White, began to videotape conversations with his mother with the hope of helping her continue her project.
What came out of those conversations is a film that captures big events and small, as Ms. White details and recalls the events of her life. It also catches the struggle of a loving family as they deal with the complex emotions of losing a loved one to the disease.
It was an audience favorite at the Tribeca Film festival and, by all accounts, is a remarkable film—both for its subject matter and the intimacy and love with which it’s displayed.
In December of 2012, Banker White wrote a guest blogpost for Maria Shriver’s Inspirational Stories for Architects of Change, describing the powerful process of filmmaking this incredibly personal project.
“I believe the story is deeply important and powerfully told and I trust it will resonate not only for those directly affected by Alzheimer’s disease, but for with anyone who has had to reconcile complicated emotions around aging and loss.”
“It’s a remarkable film, not only for the obvious affection with which it was made, but as art.” – John Anderson, INDIEWIRE
David Shenk, award-winning, national-bestselling author of six books, including what is commonly known as the “the definitive work on Alzheimer’s,” The Forgetting (2001), served as consultant on the film. His short video below, provides an engaging and informative introduction to Alzheimer's disease.
The film will air nationally for the first time on PBS’s POV on Sept. 8 and film screenings are available for communal viewing. I’m inking the television debut on my calendar and hoping that Caregiverlist will be able to host a viewing in the Chicago area soon.