The Memory Loss Tapes

While there is hope for the future as science gains momentum, millions of people are currently affected by the painful and deadly consequences of Alzheimer’s. This verité documentary profiles seven people living with the disease, each in an advancing state of dementia, from its earliest detectable changes through death.

“We wanted to capture a sense of what it was to be inside the disease,” explains Shari Cookson. “Our plan was to show the progression of the illness through several stories along the way.” But as Nick Doob points out: “There’s nothing clear cut about it. The course of the disease is different from person to person.” Adds Cookson: “They say if you’ve seen one person with Alzheimer’s…you’ve seen one person with Alzheimer’s.”

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  2. Evelyn, Hallucinations or delusions can occur as part of the disease progression (more likely to occur in another subtype of dementia, called Lewy Bodied)

    also, on the subject of Joe – remember that pre-diagnosis he was a very intelligent guy who at least from what was said here (taking into account any issues with his memory) he was a front runner in his field. The symptoms of dementia for him may therefore not be as evident as someone with “normal” intelligence – look at 9.30, where he loses track of what he’s doing on the computer – that would be a big moment for someone like him. 

    also, in the earlier stages of the disease – recent memories are the first to go (they will normally be able to remember older memories, hence why daughters/sons often get mistaken for their brothers/sisters)

  3. not necessarily guys… people with Alzheimers will often remember distant family members but not remember their spouse, so it’s not that abnormal

  4. i’d also like to add, that although yolanda may have alzheimers – either the drugs she’s taking for it, or some other illness are also causing her to clearly become delusional .. fearing snakes on her pants and talking to a plastic bunny.

    maybe i’m just learning, there’s many more facets to the disease then i originally thought.

  5. Wow, this was really sad (except the third subject “Joe” who seemed to have some other illness). This documentary made me smile, laugh and almost cry…. What a terrible way to go, although most of these people seemed to have lived good lives…

    • agree on joe. he’s very different in both age and behaviour from the others. he’s telling you memories from 15 years ago…he’s quoting famous people, not to mention – he REMEMBERS he has a blog to update. that’s not consistent with Alzheimers. 

      • Alzheimers affects people in so many different ways, it’s not just “forgetfulness” plain and simple. It also messes with their mood and personality, often making people more irritable, volatile, and eccentric than their real selves. The memory loss comes and goes, and it progresses differently for everyone. Joe seemed to be on camera during relatively lucid periods, but according to his blog his memory also suffers much more at times – so much that he can’t remember how to get back into his house from the backyard.