Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Queen Mimi: Film Review

Released 13 May 2015.
Queen Mimi (2015) is a 75 minute documentary introduces the viewers to an octogenarian woman living in a Santa Monica laundromat.

Over the course of the documentary, Mimi shares her survival strategies, attitudes, and relationships.

The entire documentary is riveting.  Mimi defies stereotypes about the homeless and reveals herself to be very complex.

For example, she cannot abide homeless people loitering in "her" laundromat. She's also incredibly cheerful, given her limited resources.  She's also a bit of a flirt, charming those around her and not alienating them.

As a gerontologist, I was particularly interested in seeing how Mimi showed incredible emotional and physical resilience in late life. She serves as an example to me on how to be flexible and resourceful in meeting life's challenges.

I would outline the whole of her biography, but much of the documentary's tension comes from the aim to answer these questions: Has she always been homeless? Does she have a family Do they know where she is?

Well, in fewer than two hours of viewing, you can learn the answer to these questions while also complicating your view of the homeless.


Films about Aging
The Stranger in My Recliner: Book Review 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Care Partner: An Emerging Term

Photo by Ian MacKenzie
Since 2010, I have been spending about twenty hours a week reading about the challenges and opportunities of aging.  Part of this time included reading a great deal about caregiving.

As I read materials from a variety of hard copy and electronic sources, I observed the following related terms for people who help meet needs for those struggling to complete activities of daily living (such as dressing) and instrumental activities of daily living (such as managing finances).

I observed these terms:

  • caregiver (dominate term in the literature for both paid employees and family members providing care)
  • caretaker (dwindling term, also used in another context as a house servant)
  • carer (Commonwealth term used by UK, Canada, Australia, etc.)
Then this year, I read a couple of books that used "care partner" to refer to those in supportive relationships with those living with dementia.  I was pleasantly surprised at the resulting the shift in emphasis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Dignified Life: Book Review

Published 21 September 2012.
In 2012, dementia care experts Virginia Bell M.S.W. and David Troxel M.P.H. published a revised and expanded edition of their 2002 book of the same title: A Dignified Life: Best Friends™ to Alzhemier's Care. 

By incorporating new research, more types of dementias, and additional stories about people living with dementia, Bell and Troxel build upon their already solid foundation of informed care. 

[I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.]

Their guide for care partners (a term that replaces caregivers) is rich with ideas, accessible and a conveys a tone of compassion and respect for people responding to the enormous challenges of living with dementia.  

Their Best Friends™ Approach includes the following (as adapted from a list of traits in their "Introduction" on pp. 2-4):

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Diminished Capacity: Film Review

Released 2008.
I viewed Diminished Capacity (2008) a few years ago, but I'm revisiting it today, given that the "MacGuffin" or plot device for this film is a 1908 Chicago Cubs baseball card.

[Listen to Alfred Hitchcock explain the film term "MacGuffin."]

This quiet little film featuring Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick and Virginia Madsen.  The title refers to the cognition problems experienced by two of the three main characters.

Broderick plays Cooper, a Chicago newspaper reporter who experiences a traumatic brain injury by being too close to a bar fight.

Alda plays Cooper's Uncle Rollie, a mature man who is living with some form of neuro-degenerative disease, probably Alzheimer's Disease.  The movie poster gestures to one of Rollie's odd habits--his method of creating poetry by having fish tug on fishing lines attached to typewriter keys.

Madsen plays Charlotte a recently divorced woman who still lives in Broderick's home town in rural Missouri, the same town where Uncle Rollie lives.  She's raising a tween son.