The film Life and Death in Assisted Living (PBS Frontline and ProPublica, 2013: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/life-and-death-in-assisted-living/) examined the care practices of Emeritus Corporation, which at the time was the country’s largest assisted living (AL) company.
Nearly all the reviews of The Father in mainstream publications are enthralled with the film’s attempt to see dementia from the inside out—that is, from within the mind of the person experiencing dementia.
In the course of his seminal work in the dementia care field, Tom Kitwood noted that it was impossible “ … to enter fully into the experiential frame of another person, simply because each person is unique” (Kitwood, 1997, p. 71). Kitwood went on to observe that stepping into and describing the world of someone living with dementia, particularly in the more advanced stages, involved additional complexities, given that first-person accounts typically describe the early stages of dementia.
After Anthony Hopkins won the 2021 Oscar for best actor in The Father, our Dementia Together team viewed the film and found it creatively compelling and hopelessly heart-breaking—everything the cultural “tragedy narrative” around dementia would have us believe is inevitable and true.
The Guardians does have some serious flaws, both structurally and tonally. At the outset, the narrative is hard to follow because a variety of people appear and speak without any identification; we do not know who they are and what their credentials are.
Under the guise of benevolent guardianship, certain individuals in this country have learned how to use the legal system to steal the savings and property of vulnerable older adults after consigning them to a long-term care facility. These are not just a handful of bad-apple people; scores of them are operating throughout the United States—but just how many, no one knows.
The themes of memory, love, and loss that are central to Angel’s Perch are also found in the documentary film, Life in Stills , but with a different mixture. The grandmother–grandson relationship in this film is of an entirely different character than that presented in Angel’s Perch .
Nourish the Body and Soul is a well-crafted, solution-filled, uplifting video that shows long-term care providers ways to enhance dining experiences of residents in their facilities. Produced by Action Pact, a culture change company, the film illustrates innovative, context-specific dining options currently used in a dozen nursing homes across the United States.
Will Power is a film about a saddening and dissolving family occurrence. Videographer and narrator Tom Garber shares with us his involvement in a contentious legal battle between himself and his siblings over opposing inheritance claims made on the family homeplace following the death of their parents.
Have you ever wished to be a “fly on the wall” in a residential care facility so you could observe the kind of care being given to a family member, or just to see the kind of dynamic being played out between residents and staff? Watching The Mole Agent will give you a sense of what that would be like.
Fighting for Dignity, directed by Eilon Caspi and Judy Berry, is a provocative, and, at times, shocking video about injurious and fatal resident-to-resident incidents in long-term care. Viewer discretion is advised at the outset due to some scenes containing graphic images of victim injuries and acts of violence resulting in serious physical injury.
Many contemporary films that deal with dementia focus on the role of the caregiver and the complex issues involved in supporting a family member living with dementia. Head Full of Honey falls into this category, but is unusual in having a youthful protagonist in the central caring role.
From Nine to Ninety deals with a common family situation in the United States—providing care for older adults within a multigenerational household setting. It focuses on a single family that shares the common challenges faced by many other families that currently struggle with adult caregiving.
At one point in this remarkable film, 89-year-old Dr. Peter Reimann, accompanied on piano by daughter Hannah Reimann, sings this brief German art song from Schubert’s Die Winterreise No. 15. The Raven (Die Krähe).