A glimpse into Alzheimer’sRichard Jones
By Rachael Jones
I don’t know if you’ve seen the film Still Alice but if you know someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, it is well worth a watch. Shot from the perspective of Alice, the film follows her struggle with early onset Alzheimer’s. She is only 50 when she is diagnosed, a painfully young age. Aside from Alice, the main people affected are her family.
Her youngest daughter Lydia is the most understanding, asking her what it feels like. They become closer as the film and Alice’s Alzheimer’s progress. Watching the progression of the illness as an audience member is frightening and quite disturbing. You also feel a humongous sympathy for this character. The fact that she is young adds to this, but the film is wonderful for encompassing just how terrifying it must feel for anyone of any age to realise they are losing part of their minds and therefore themselves every day.
One moment that is particularly touching is when Alice is looking for a book to read. She reads some plays that belong to her daughter. Amongst the plays is Lydia’s diary and she reads this, without really realising what she is doing. A few scenes later she is discussing the latest play that she has read with Lydia. She asks Lydia how she felt when acting these scenes with Malcolm, an ex boyfriend. Lydia questions how Alice knew this, knowing that she hadn’t told her. She realises that Alice has read her diary and storms out of the house.
In the next scene, we see Lydia apologise to her mother. She says that it’s not right for her to continue to treat her mother as though she is the same, because she is not. She says that she is sorry and that she knows that her mother did not mean to upset her. Alice at this point does not really understand to what she is referring and Lydia, not wanting to cause further upset, does not reiterate what Alice has done. We then see Alice pulling back the duvet to go to bed and Lydia’s diary is on her pillow with the words ‘NO SECRETS’ on a post-it note on the front.
In contrast to this young woman, John, Alice’s husband, does not cope with the situation at all. He eventually leaves Alice with his daughter so that he can pursue his career in New York. Their lives are at a standstill and he cannot cope with this. You feel sympathy for this character, with his world turned upside down.
At one point, Alice does not know who her daughter is and this is truly heartbreaking to watch. We are given giant insights into what it must feel like to struggle with Alzheimer’s during Alice’s speech at an Alzheimer’s event.
The point taken from this film was the need to treat people with Alzheimer’s as they are not as they were. For more tips and guidance, feel free to call Richard Jones on 07794518637 or alternatively contact The Alzheimer’s Society http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
Wonderful guidance on living with dementia can be found on Dr Jennifer Bute’s website: www.gloriousopportunity.org
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62606625@N05/16256312109″>Julianne Moore</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>