The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s

 This Primetime Emmy Award-winning documentary takes a dramatic, compassionate and thorough look at the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease. Through the stories of three families, as well as from the viewpoints of world-renown scientists, the film shows the personal and social impact of the disease, highlights cutting-edge research and offers reason for hope. 

Meet Mrs. Scully:

The Disease Progresses:

Questions:

  • Mrs. Scully is undergoing neurological testing during an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. How did you feel or what did you think as she struggled with simple tasks?

  • Most people who misplace keys or forget an appointment are healthy. But what are some of the differences between normal aging and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease? When do you think someone should seek testing or help?

  • • What are ways you could provide practical and emotional support to someone like Mrs. Scully at this point in her illness?

Questions:

  • This video says that “the human brain is a miraculous and complex organ that controls every breath, thought, heartbeat and emotion.” When you think of the brain, do you think more about physical functions, emotions or both? Why?

  • Dr. Rudy Tanzi is a pioneer in Alzheimer’s research and treatment. How would you feel about working in this field? What are some advantages and disadvantages?

  • This video describes the losses that Alzheimer’s causes over time: simple confusion about tasks and places, emotional changes, and ultimately the loss of long-term memories and people. Which losses do you think are most challenging for the person with Alzheimer’s? How about for the person’s family, friends and caregivers?

  • This video offers a simple explanation of how Alzheimer’s takes hold of the brain, destroying nerve cells and erasing memory. What surprised you about this segment? What else would you like to know? 

Meet the Fuget Family:

Questions:

  • Gladys and Harry have been married for 45 years. What special challenges might a couple who have been together so long face when encountering Alzheimer’s? What advantages might this long-term relationship offer them? 

  • Gladys was a beautiful dancer, and enjoyed music. What activities might her family do to connect with her, even though her abilities and awareness has been deeply changed by Alzheimer’s?

  • Dr. Steven DeKosky worked with the Fugets, performing simple memory tests to assess Gladys’ neurological health. What did you think or feel during this scene?

Gladys and her Grandson:

Questions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease has made Gladys interact with her grandson more like a peer, which hurts his feelings. How might you explain Alzheimer’s disease to such a young child? What might make him feel less sad or confused?

  • Where might the Fugets go to receive help or support as Gladys moves into the middle stages of her disease?

Still Gladys:

Questions:

  • Gladys takes up smoking, an old habit, as her disease progresses. Why do you think she does this? Would you try to prevent her from smoking or allow her to do so? Why?

  • What might Henry and the Fuget family do to retain good memories about Gladys?