Menu

Making Sense of Alzheimer’s is a creative space for people to understand the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease. It is an evolving forum, a gallery of ideas, a museum without walls.

Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s

By Kathy Bernard and Barbara Kline

LISTEN NOW
Beyond the Face of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. alone, and may soon become the world’s greatest epidemic. It’s not surprising that many have been touched by it in one way or another. Either a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease, or we know someone who is struggling with it. And with more than seventy-six million boomers, a whole generation is worried that today’s memory lapses will become tomorrow’s Alzheimer’s and all that the diagnosis entails.

Barbara’s dad has Alzheimer’s. It’s been a long journey fraught with heartache. Those who have only known Mike since his diagnosis can’t imagine how he used to be — whip smart, kind, generous, and best advice giver ever — not the shadow of the man he has become. Alzheimer’s is a disease that knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate. It impacts all races, religions, genders, socio-economic groups, and with the rise of early onset Alzheimer’s, age.

While much has been documented regarding the impact of Alzheimer’s, we believe there are other important and overlooked perspectives that can provide a more realistic and complete picture. Our vignettes focus on the person afflicted — who they were before they became ill — and the toll this disease has taken on the person left to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. They too are “Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s.”

While the series highlights the difficulties of dealing with a loved one afflicted with the disease, the story is not complete without exploring the “nuggets of goodness” — the unexpected that happens while navigating this painful road. This eight-part series is an intimate portrait of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Dr. Jason Karlawish, a professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics, and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and producer of Making Sense of Alzheimer’s, served as medical a consultant and a contributor to the series. His commentary can be heard in the introduction and conclusion of the series.

We begin on the third floor of an Alzheimer’s facility in the Washington DC area. This is the home of Barb’s dad, Mike, who has inspired us in so many ways to share this important story.

Listen to the entire series here.

comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Not Alone
Video

“Not Alone” was never meant to be made public when Gardner wrote it, but a powerful response from his mother encouraged Gardner to publish a formal music video to YouTube.

Portraits of Caregivers
Video

Photographer Raymond W. Holman, Jr. captures the sometimes forgotten figures in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

IOM Report on Cognitive Aging
Video

The IOM Report on Cognitive Aging

Art of the Mind: Faye Hall Link
Art of the Mind

Faye Hall’s mother left notes for the trespassers stealing her food and moving her possessions, forgetting that these were her own actions. The artist used the notes as inspiration and as a medium in a portrait of her mother.

Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s
Series

“Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s" - an intimate portrait of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

I Am Life
Story

Richard Rubin presents "I Am Life: Humanity In Advanced Dementia"

Tangles
Story

A daughter's honest graphic memoir of her mother's descent into dementia.

Building a Better Password
Video

As people age, it can become even harder to remember the countless passwords used in daily life.

The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging
Audio

Listen to Jason Karlawish's review of Margaret Lock's book "The Alzheimer Conundrum."

Millennials Take Action: Designing to Preserve Dignity for Persons with Dementia
Story

Creative young adults design innovations aimed at improving quality of life of patients and caregivers.

Art of the Mind: Greg Dunn Link
Story

Greg Dunn spent years studying the human brain, only to spend countless additional hours trying to depict it in his art. Yet the neuroscientist-turned-artist says he is humbled by how much more complex the brain is than he could ever hope to show.

The Beginning Stages of Goodbye
Slideshow

Artist Alexandria Levin reflects on a cross-country train trip she took to help her mother, who has dementia, move into the final stages of her life.

Still We Dance: Artist Charles M. Williams
Slideshow and Video

Charles M. Williams combines his art with “the possibility of the ‘long good-bye’ that is Alzheimer’s.”

Should We Still Read ‘Still Alice’?
Video

Jason Karlawish,MD explains why 'Still Alice' is not the right story to help us understand Alzheimer’s disease.

Making Sense of Alzheimer’s … A Student’s Perspective
Video

A college student asks questions about Alzheimer’s disease to try and understand the complexity of the disease.

Hilarity for Charity Joins Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Story

Hilarity for Charity joins fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Laughing with Dugald
Story

Dramatists know the value of comic relief in the tragedy of life. Perhaps one man's own sense of humor is helping him to live with Alzheimer's.

History of Alzheimer’s Research
Timeline

A walk through important dates in Alzheimer's disease research history.