Updated: May 16
Me and Lando been pulling together some randos for your dementia pleasure.
While I've been lazing around in a Dark Side of my own making I'm still taking note when a bit of dementia-cool catches my eye. So buckle up, baby, here goes nothing!
One of my fav activities as of late (while I'm inactively not changing my life) is to catch up on 2021 Oscar noms.
I actually miss my best movie-going gal-pal for this, even though she was more like a victim than a willing participant last year.
I've ticked all the Best Picture nominees off my list and am blown away by the unique stories I've experienced from the eight contenders this year. I highly recommend all of them for your viewing pleasure, and dementia escapism, but I want to especially pull focus to The Father.
Anthony Hopkins gives an outstanding Five Lightsabers! performance as a man inhabiting the realm of dementia. While none of us know for certain how a dementia person experiences the late stages...
...I would wager a HansSoloFrozenInCarbonite that this is the truest depiction we will ever see and feel in cinema. I finished the pic thinking whoever wrote this had to be intimately familiar with someone living with dementia.
It turned out to be French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller whose grandmother was diagnosed with dementia when he was a teen, inspiring him to write the play The Father. He won a bunch of awards for that. Then he co-wrote the screenplay for The Father, directed the film, and is now nominated for a bunch of awards for that.
That guy exhausts me.
The movie is a masterpiece of acting, directing, editing, and production design, but Lando and I discussed it and decided it only garnered an awesome Four Lightsabers! and one awful Jar Jar Binks How wude! rating.
"Masterful and agonizing, The Father is a gorgeously crafted film about a doomed arrangement entered into with love, even though it can only end in tragedy."
That's the Jar Jar for 'ya. Why can it only end in tragedy? Dementia is agonizing but it isn't all horror all the time for many of us. The inescapable tragic narrative from the media crushes dementia folks and their care partners/givers before they even get started on this journey. I'd like to see both the horrible and the hilarious of the dementia sojourn portrayed in film and print, even if the latter moments are a lot, lot fewer than the former.
I get the occasional "This article is a great addition to your website!" emails here and there, making me feel oh-so-popular until the article proffered is how to expertly extract elephant semen and I realize the sender has never even been on Stumped Town Dementia, or if they have, I've not been at all clear regarding the focus of the site.
I politely thank them for reaching out to me and explain that readers of Stumped Town Dementia are already the world experts on elephant semen extraction requiring no further instruction on the topic.
But Abby Eubanks of CreditCards.com sent me a guide on financial protection for those with Alzheimer's that is actually pretty helpful. Sure she's schlepping corporate wares in the form of advice, but when it's solid recommendations that address the numerous questions I see posed on dementia forums, well, Lando and I figured we'd cut her some slack and pass it on to you folks.
(I'm sure they meant all the dementias...)
When Mom was hustling towards death like she hustled into showers (meaning NOT AT ALL) an Instagram friend reached out and recommended I contact the Portland Threshold Singers - something I'd never even heard of! We didn't avail ourselves of their services at the time but I have since looked into this worldwide organization, and kids, it's pretty swell!
Kate Munger originated the concept back in 199o when singing at the bedside of a friend dying of AIDS; now there are over 200 chapters of Threshold Choirs world wide bringing ease and comfort to those at the threshold between living and dying, with gentle voices, simple songs, and sincere kindness for the dying and their caregivers.
During COVID they are currently not singing in person but offer their soothing musicality at their website here.
So, put this nugget of info in your mental filing cabinet under the Active Dying Phase. Whether in person or not, women giving of themselves to soothe and support others at the most difficult time of life is a gift worth receiving.
And I'd guess us caregivers know a little something 'bout that.
May the Dementia Force be with you, my friends! Or at least not too terribly against you at the moment.