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Old 05-22-2012, 03:46 AM   #1
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Movie portrayals of dementia

Has any seen the recently released, small budget/independent movie, "The Dark Horse"? I wonder if any of you has seen it. In this movie there is a fairly detailed portrayal of the father with some form of dementia, possibly AD. Is the portrayal over-dramatized? Is it fairly accurate? This is one of the rare movies in which the dementia character plays a fairly central role throughout the entire movie. (Just google thedarkhorsemovie dot com)

If you haven't seen or heard of it, it is a 2011 low budget, independent/artsy release available at red box, and has won some recognition amongst local film festivals. It's about horses (of course of course), saving the family horse farm, and a woman ex-ballet dancer returning home. And of course an aging father with dementia and how the family copes.

There are other recent movies featuring dementia roles. Another one is the Descendants by with George Clooney. Beautiful movie with great setting in Hawaii, by the way. Great soundtrack. However, the AD character in this movie played a very minor role and the treatment of the character was very superficial.

Last edited by Luau; 05-22-2012 at 04:02 AM.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 06:56 AM   #2
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

I will have to check out "The Dark Horse"! I have seen "The Iron Lady". It s the story of Margaret Thatcher. The twist is that her history is told through flash back memories as she slips into dementia. I have seen "The Descendents" as well. It made me want to escape back to Oahu

One of the best movies "Away From Her" (2007). Concerns a wife with dementia and how she and her husband deal with it. That same year "The Savages" came out with children dealing with their parents with dementia. Then there is my all time forever favorite "The Notebook". It was rather radical at the time to think you could connect with those that have late stage dementia, but now what is show in that movie is a reality on a daily basis.

Then there is "Raising Hope" on TV. Grandma has dementia and shows the lighter side. As tragic as this disease is and as difficult as it is to see the humor (especially in the easy stages of acceptance) there is a humorous side.

Love, deb

 
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:07 AM   #3
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

We have seen the Iron Lady as well. It was an interesting portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. However, because she was so high-profile, her story was larger than life, if you know what I mean. So it was hard for me to gauge how closely that would apply to the average jane/joe afflicted with dementia.

I will have to check out Away from Her and the Notebook! As for the Dark Horse, do check it out. Keep in mind it is a low budget, artsy film.

The Descendants... I have the same reaction. I was/am an island boy. I grew up and hung out with people like the Clooney clan. It was an extremely accurate portrayal of life of the Hawaii "blue bloods". Now you know why I chose "luau" as my nick.

Last edited by Luau; 05-22-2012 at 07:09 AM.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 07:30 AM   #4
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

I spent two amazing weeks oh Oahu. My daughter's boyfriend grew up in Kaneohe and the three of us went to spend time with his Mom who still lived in Oahu. I was hooked immediately! It was the off the beaten path places we went to that were the most special.

I did relate to the Iron Lady story. One thing about this disease, it is non discriminatory. It plays no favorites. They have the same delusions, the same poor judgment, the same memory loss. Money may make it easier on the care side but it can't change the disease.

Love, deb

 
Old 05-22-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

Now there are more movies about dementia. The other night I happened to see a movie about A little brother of war. This movie was just about a child, however, in the movie, the detective's father has some kind of dementia and in the end, the actor did tell his ex-wife that his Dad "stop eating" and was in the hospital. Later, he was shocked to hear that his Dad died. Well, this is just typical - an AD patient stops eating and dies soon afterwards. That movie was subtle - no dementia was mentioned and the father was just a side story. The detective did tell his Dad that he was never there for him. Well, his dad could not respond anymore. It is so typical...
Here I see that the son does not really understand dementia but he dealt with his Dad. He was a little shocked that his Dad died soon later (no feeding tube, I guess.) Just sounds like my husband. The oblivious care for dementia and yet the responsible care to be there for Dad.

I saw Away from her and Savages. Also some other movie about the son and his Mom who has AD. Lately there are more movies like that.
I think this is a good thing as the public seems to be more aware of dementia.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-22-2012 at 08:34 AM.

 
Old 05-23-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

I check out the preview to Away from Her. How frequently does it happen like that, when the one with dementia forgets his/her love and begins a new relationship away? I have seen this theme presented here and in other TV/movies.

 
Old 05-23-2012, 07:24 AM   #7
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

From my experience... many with dementia eventually forget who their spouse or other loved ones are. It's not always an all or nothing thing. Some remember in flashes as in The Notebook. Some don't forget at all. Others forget completely. May times they just don't recognize us in our older form. But I do know that when the forgetting comes it is painful.

I am not sure if the forgetting has a direct connection to finding someone else. It is probably more a result of the isolation and confusion that they feel. We all need companionship and comfort in a nonthreatening way. The cognitively aware world is threatening. We do seek out those that are like us. So if they find a connection it is only natural that they are drawn to it. They may not even remember the connections of the past but I think more important is the brain dysfunction. The social inhibitions are absent, the sense of self centeredness is heightened, judgement is impaired. It feels good.... and they respond to the comfort they find. In my work I have seen it happen more than once... and never discouraged it. Who doesn't want a connection from a non threatening comforting partner Mostly it has been in the form of staying close to one another, hand holding, or other harmless signs of affection.

What I have probably seem more is the cognitively aware spouse find a new companion while caring for their spouse with later stages of dementia. There is one now in Mom's unit. His wife has forgotten him and their past connection. She is a content sweet lady with many smiles but very little awareness except immediate responses. Her husband has a new companion but at the same time he takes excellent care of his wife. Again, I don't fault him at all because we do all need a connection from a non threatening comforting partner. Each has their own way to dealing with this situation and this is just one of them. There is no right or wrong... just how we cope with what life gives us!! I want to add... so many of the rules we have learned to live by go out the window with this disease. This is just one other area that the shades of gray take over the black and white.....

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 05-23-2012 at 07:26 AM.

 
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:51 AM   #8
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

I don't think the situation in Away from Her happens frequently. First of all, the spouses will certainly make sure they are around the sick spouse. Secondly, the nursing home may not have the same environment that offers the chance for them to develop any relationship. I mean, the movie made it sound like the sick couple successfully became "mates". In reality, they have no ability to really form a date and thus have another "spouse".

My FIL as a widower has always wanted to find another mate. But he not only made the lady friend go away by being strange, he also made funny passes with many caregivers who may or may not be married. In the end, he got no one.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-23-2012 at 08:53 AM.

 
Old 05-23-2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

Nina, from experience and seeing it happen, I can tell you it happens more than rarely

Love, deb

 
Old 05-24-2012, 04:32 AM   #10
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

given the particulars of my current situation, watching Away from Her might be a bit overwhelming. Then again, maybe I should force myself to watch it. It is exceedingly hard for me to think of that scenario right now.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 08:01 AM   #11
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luau View Post
given the particulars of my current situation, watching Away from Her might be a bit overwhelming. Then again, maybe I should force myself to watch it. It is exceedingly hard for me to think of that scenario right now.
Luau, You don't really have to force yourself to watch this movie.
You know my husband never bothered to read the books on dementia and see the movies on dementia. He runs away from that. He does not even want to see any holocaust movie... That brings negative mood for him. It is the same with his parents.

You may not get there yet so don't be overwhelmed.
Also movies are usually more dramatic.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-24-2012 at 08:01 AM.

 
Old 05-24-2012, 08:53 AM   #12
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

Luau, I thought of the movie because it is something that would be more applicable to you than to many of us who are dealing with loved ones other than spouses. It is something troubling to consider if you just take it literally. But I am a big proponent of awareness. It goes a long way to explain the isolation felt by both parties when a spouse has dementia. The characters solved it in their way and you will solve it in yours. More than anything it is letting you know that whatever scenario that works for you is ok. It also brings out that we all need comfort and security and the touch of others that make us comfortable and secure.... whether we are the one with dementia or the one who loves someone with dementia. You do not expect your story to be the same... but the needs and feeling are still the same. Whoever made that move reached into the emotional turmoil of this disease on both sides... The outcome was just one of many but it is the process of getting to that point that to me is important.... not the solution.

Love, deb

 
Old 05-29-2012, 08:35 AM   #13
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

Luau... It is not a movie but a book and reading it I though of you. "While I Still Can" written by Rick Phelps and Gary LaBlanc is an excellent book for you to understand the thought process of someone with EOAD. Rick Phelps actually has EOAD and it is his story written by Gary LaBlanc who cared for his Dad with Alzheimer's for 10 years. I have read the first half of the book (just came out in E-book and should be out in print this week) and it is an excellent insight into the struggles those with early dementia go through. I highly recommend this book to all!! It is truly unique in the fact that it comes from someone who does have the disease.

Love, deb

 
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:11 AM   #14
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

THANKS, Deb. I will certainly look into "While I Still Can" by Phelps and LaBlanc! Thanks again!

 
Old 05-29-2012, 01:17 PM   #15
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Re: Movie portrayals of dementia

An oldie but goodie is "I Never Sang for My Father"... I always joked that it should've been "I Never Strangled My Father" because, from the sound of his symptoms, it seemed like a nasty vascular dementia that made him very stubborn and hard to deal with! In fact, the son in question ended up just walking away and leaving him to die alone. I don't think much was known about dementia back in those days (the 70s), but good flick.

 
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