Movies, Podcasts, and Books to Help Us Learn More About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is brutal and relentless.  It doesn’t care about feelings or actions.  It doesn’t care about how good you’ve been or what you’ve done.  It takes over and leaves everyone in its wake devastated.  Memory loss is something that no one wants to have and no one wants their loved one to have.  But unfortunately, with 44 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s world-wide, there is no escaping the reality that it exists.

Thankfully, there are many resources available to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and how it works.  But sometimes we need more than the pages and pages of research the internet can hand us.  Sometimes we need to engage in story to feel the feelings that dementia and Alzheimer’s invoke.  Sometimes we need to watch or read about other people experiencing what we are experiencing to feel the sense that we are all in this together.  

Here are some movies, TV shows, books, and podcasts that we can partake in to help us not feel so alone, to engage in someone else’s story, and to learn a little while we’re doing it. (Please note that we have not read or watched or listened to all of these).

Movies

Still Alice: This movie tells the story of early onset Alzheimer’s and the overwhelming toll it has on her and her family.  It is told through Alice’s eyes and walks with her and her family as they navigate the crisis together.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory: A story of a social worker who advocates for using music as therapy for dementia patients.

The Notebook: This story is set in the 1940s and tells the story of a young couple who fall in love.  It’s narrated by an older man who is telling the story to a woman with Alzheimer’s disease in a nursing home.

TV Shows

Grey’s Anatomy: Main character Meredith Grey’s mother has early onset Alzheimer’s and Meredith must deal with the ramifications of that and what it means for her.

The Sopranos: In this show, Junior Soprano plays a mob boss suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The actor who plays Junior has a mother suffering from dementia in his real life and he has been recognized for his tender portrayal of the role.

Mad Men: Pete Campbell’s mother develops Alzheimer’s disease and has to move in with him as she becomes more and more unstable.

Podcasts

Alzheimer’s Talks: This is a free teleconference series that goes over many different topics with leaders in the Alzheimer’s community.

Alzheimer’s Society Podcast: This is a podcast based in the UK that offers support, fund research, and hope for change.

Books

Where the Light Gets In: Actress Kimberly Paisley tells the story of her mother and her battle with dementia. Amazon describes it like this: “Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda’s illness from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day. Kim draws a candid picture of the ways her family reacted for better and worse, and how she, her father and two siblings educated themselves, tried to let go of shame and secrecy, made mistakes, and found unexpected humor and grace in the midst of suffering.”

The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline: This book outlines 36 metabolic factors that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain. He offers practical suggestions for how to change diet and lifestyle to kick Alzheimer’s to the curb.

There are some suggestions to get you started as you wade into the world of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Remember that engaging with story and connecting with others makes this journey more bearable. We are all in this together.