Five children--ages 6-15--talk about coping with grandparents who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease in this documentary. Maria Shriver provides commentary and delivers valuable lessons for the kids.

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Five children--ages 6-15--talk about coping with grandparents who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease in this documentary. Maria Shriver provides commentary and delivers valuable lessons for the kids.

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11 May 2009 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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A moving and useful documentary
19 January 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed and learned from this short film about children adjusting to grandparents who have Alzheimer's.

As someone who works with older adults and their families, I found the experiences described here to be fairly typical, and the advice offered to be sound.

It's touching to see children from age 5 through their teens talking about the difficulties of watching grandparents forget who they are, stare into space, speak unintelligibly, and say hurtful things.

The film is narrated sensitively by Maria Shriver, whose father, Sargent, suffered from Alzheimer's at the time of the filming. She describes how she learned not to impose her reality on her father's when it would only disappoint or frustrate him. For example, agreeing with Dad that the sounds outside were water flowing and not cars.

I liked her tip to those who might be hurt by their loved ones' lashing out -- Don't take it personally!

"That's not them -- that's Alzheimer's doing its work."

Particularly moving is the final segment, in which a teenage girl films a documentary about her grandmother, a once-glamorous woman whose friends and colleagues remember her in glowing, frank terms. Like other kids featured here, she fights back tears -- in contrast to her still-lucid grandfather, who seems to genuinely enjoy his demented wife's company.

When he tells his wife that he loves her, he alone seems to connect with her, and she sweetly leans over for a kiss.

A meaningful and beautiful production.


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