“You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t” – PBS Airs a Gem about Alzheimer’s

I’m not going to say too much about this PBS episode of Independent Lens, because I want you to draw your own conclusions. I also don’t want to taint your experience.

You see, this is the first documentary filmed entirely in an Alzheimer’s care unit and purely from the perspective of a person with Alzheimer’s. There are no doctors, psychologists, or other professionals offering commentary.

This show is all about Lee Gorewitz. It would be disrespectful of me to try to interpret for you what she is already communicating in her own beautiful way.

Watch You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

Scott Kirschenbaum’s film is a testament to the wisdom that I’m fervently convinced still exists inside those within the grips of this disease. It also elucidates the relationship between the brain and behavior in a way that research and pedagogy cannot.

So thank you, Lee, for the image of you dancing to “Beyond the Sea” and for describing the love in your marriage so eloquently (“The air…was very good.”).

And thank you for the important lesson that even if we aren’t sure what a person with Alzheimer’s is trying to tell us, it doesn’t mean the person lacks a clear vision in her mind of the answer or idea she wants to provide.

Actually, Lee says this better than I do: “What is inside of your head is very difficult for anyone to come up with an answer and say something you think it is, when it turns out not to be.”

I encourage you to watch this and let me know what you think. Even if you're not caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, it’s a world we should know, or at least appreciate.

Or as Lee reminds us, “The world is something that one does not know enough.”

Comments

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  • The timing of this program couldn't be better. My siblings and I have just learned our parent has this disease. It's comforting to know we're not alone. Here's a well-done essay from a writer dealing with a father with dementia:

    http://itallhitshome-felixcarroll.blogspot.com/2012/03/reunion-in-waiting-room.html

    We need to keep talking about this topic. Thanks Dr. Chill and Scott Kirschenbaum.

  • In reply to Peter:

    Dear Peter,

    Thanks so much for your comment and for the link to the very poignant blog post. I'm sorry to hear about your parent's diagnosis, and I agree that we need to keep talking about the disease in order to bolster support for the families who are living with it. All my best to you and your family as you learn and transform through this experience.

    Take good care,
    Dr. Chill

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