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RohdinaHarriott

UWRT1104
February2,2016

OBSERVATIONONE

WEDNESDAY,FEBRUARY3,2016

HBO:THEALZHEIMERSPROJECTPART1

I.
OBSERVATION

Note:ThedocumentaryIamobservingis39minuteslongandIwillbeobservingthefirst25
minutesofthefootage.Ivedividedthesetimesbasedonwhenthescenechangesfromone
individualsalzheimersstorytoanother.Foreachpersoninthisobservation,Iobservedthe
first6minutesoftheirstory,asitseemedtoentailthemostimportantdetails.

Alzheimersisaformofdementia,thataffectsthememoryandcausesthebrainto
deteriorateoveraperiodoftime.Ithappensgradually,whereasyouwillbegintoforget
minorthingssuchaswhereyouplacedyourkeys,directionstoyourhouseorwhereyou
parkedyourcar.Thoughthesemayseemtobethingsthathappentousonadaily,and
youwillsayOhIlosemykeysallthetime,doIhavealz?Nonotnecessarily,wealldo
experienceminormemorylossattimesbuttheextentofthisdiffers.Thiswillbecomea
frequenthabitandeventuallythosewiththediseasewillforgetthenamesoftheirpeers,
familymembersandessentiallythebrainshutsdown.Ageisalsoapredominantfactor
whenreferringtothedisease.Thoughitiscommontoexperienceearlyonset
Alzheimersbetweentheagesof4050,itismostcommoninelderlyfolksattheageof
65andolder.ThereiscurrentlynocureforAlzheimer'ssopatientsmerelydependon
medicationtoslowtheprocess.

BackgroundInformation:

TheHBOAlzheimersProjectshowstheeffectsofthediseaseonthosewiththe
illnessaswellashowitaffectstheirfamilies.Theprojectconsistsofafourpart
documentaryseries,15shortfilmsandacampaignthatservespurposetoprovide
informationaboutthisdevastatingillness.Inthisspecificdocumentary,theyshowthe

storiesofaboutfourpatientswiththediseaseandtheimpactithasmadeontheirlives.
TheobservationtakesplaceinavarietyofdifferentStatesintheUS.Therecordingsof
thesefilmstakeplaceinBirchwood,Wisconsin,St.Louis,Missouri,andOceanside,
California.Alldepictedinthatorder.

MainActorsthroughoutthefilm:

1. BessieKnapmillerAn87yearoldfemale,whowasdiagnosedwithAlz.2
monthsago.Shelivesalonewithherdoginthehomethathernowdeceased
husbandwasbornin.Hermemoryisdeterioratingatarelativelyfastrate.Sheis
abletorecognizefacesbutthenamesdonotfollow.

2. FannieDavis82yearoldfemale,whowasdiagnosedwiththeillness3months
ago.SheisawidowandinherearlystageofAlzheimers.Fanniehasbeenused
tobeingindependentandtakingcareofherselfpracticallyallherlifeandsoshe
doesnottaketheunfortunatenewstoowell.

3. JoePotocny63yearoldmalewhowasdiagnosed2yearsago.Heliveswithhiswifeand
asawaytocopewithhissituationhedesignedabloginwhichheputshisthoughts,
feelingsandmemorieseverydayastheillnessprogresses.

Artifacts
:
Confusion,forgetfulness,frustrationWegettoseehowasaresultoftheillness,
patientsexperiencethesethreefeelingsthemost.Theyget
confused
aboutwhatistakingplacein
theirsurroundings,beginto
forget
everythingthatwasonceimportanttothemandultimately
frustrated
atthefactthattheycannotcontrolwhatishappening.

TheObservation

Start6minutes:Thesceneryisofanarrowroadcoveredwithfogallaround.The
PatientBessie,isatherdoctorsvisitandthoughwecannotseethemyet,theirvoiceis
audibleinthebackground.Thesceneswitchestothedoctorsofficeandheasksaseries
ofquestionssuchaswhatdayitis,theseasonandtheformerpresident.Bessieisnowat

homewithherdogandherdaughterisvisitingfromnextdoorandtheyhaveadiscussion
abouthertakinghermedication.Bessiefeelsthemedicationwillnotmakeadifferenceas
shesawarethereisnocureandnomatterwhatshetakes,itwillonlyprogress.Itis
revealedthathersisterHarriet,93,alsofellilltothedisease.Thesceneswitchesto
Bessieschoirrehearsalwheresheforgetsallthewordstothesongs.

1218minutes:FannieisintroducedatherhomeinMissouriwithherdaughterasthey
talkabouthowithasaffectedherlife.ThenextsceneshowsFannieatthedoctorsoffice
beingadministeredatesttoseeifsheisstillcapableofdriving.Sheisshownvarious
signsandaskedwhatshewoulddoifsheencounteredsuchsigns.Fannieisthentaken
outsidetoparticipateinadrivingtesttoseehowwellhermemoryofdrivingis.Atfirst
shestruggleswithstartingthecarthenproceedstodriving.Shedemonstrateddifficulties
asshewasdriving,shestoppedwhentherewasnotastopsignanddroveintooncoming
traffic.AsFanniewasdrivingfurtherinthetest,theinstructortoldhertomakearight
andwashighlyincapableofdoingso.Sheisindenialandisfuriatedatthefactthatshe
cannolongerdrive.Thedoctortellshershenowhastoarrangetobedriveneverywhere
andsheismoreworriedaboutlosingherindependencethanhersafety.

2026minutes:JoeIsshownathomewherehetalksabouthisaccomplishmentsinthe
workingfield.Hetalkedabouthowhehelpedcreatesomeofthemostusedandwell
knownitemsintheworldtodayforinstance,theDVD.Thesceneswitchestohimsitting
aroundhiscomputerexplainingwhathismethodofcopingwithalzis.Joereliesona
blogthathecreated,LivingwithAlzheimers,tobasicallywritedownhowhefeelsday
bydayandthechangesthatareoccurring.Ashewriteshisthoughtsthroughouttheday,
youcanseehowheartbrokenheisbecauseheknowshewillsoongettothepointofno
return.HedecidedtopainthishomeasaprojectandIbelievedoingthesethingshelp
himfindsomekindofinnerpeaceandtokeepthelittlesanityhehasleft.Hiswifeand
familyareverypatientwithhimsoheisnotalonethoughhemayoftenfeelthatway.At
timeshemaybecomeunintentionallyrudeandblunttothosearoundhim,thisisshownin
thewayhesometimesspeakstohiswifeaswellasthecameramenwhenhetellsthem,he
doesnotwanttoseetheirfaces.

OBSERVATION2

SATURDAY,FEBRUARY6,2015

HBO:THEALZHEIMERSPROJECTPART2

Note:thedocumentaryIamobservingis44minuteslong.Iwillbeobservingthefirst33
minutesofthefootage.Ivedividedthesetimesbasedonwhenthescenechangesfromone
individualsalzheimersstorytoanother.Foreachpersoninthisobservation,Iobservedthe
first10minutesoftheirstory,asitseemedtoentailthemostimportantdetails.

BackgroundInformation:

TheHBOAlzheimersProjectshowstheeffectsofthediseaseonthosewiththe
illnessaswellashowitaffectstheirfamilies.Theprojectconsistsofafourpart
documentaryseries,15shortfilmsandacampaignthatservespurposetoprovide
informationaboutthisdevastatingillness.Inthisspecificdocumentary,theyshowthe
storiesofaboutfourpatientswiththediseaseandtheimpactithasmadeontheirlives.
ThescenesthatIwillbeobservingtakesplaceinthedifferentstatesintheUS.The
recordingsofthesefilmstakeplaceinRochester,Michigan,BloomingPrairie,Minnesota
andGuntersville,Alabama.

MainActorsThroughouttheFilm:

1. WoodyGeist81yearoldmalewhowasdiagnosed14yearsago.Woodyis
experiencingtheseverestageofAlzheimers,otherwiseknownasthelatestage.

Heonlyrecollectsmemoriesthathashappenedinhisearlierstageoflife.Henow
residesinanursinghomewithfrequentvisitsfromhisfamily.

2. JosephineMickow77yearoldfemalewhowasdiagnosed5yearsago.Her
illnessprogressedataquickrateandasaresultofthisshehaslostalmost
completeabilitytomakeverbalcommunication.Josephineliveswithher
daughter.

3. CliffHolman79yearoldmale,diagnosedwithAlzheimers6yearsago.Cliff
stillremainsawareofcertainthingsbuttypicallythingsfromawhileback.He
liveswithhiswifeathomeandistakencareofbyahomecaregiver.

TheObservation

Start10minutesWoodysstorybeginswithhissisterarecordbeingplayedinthe
background.WeareintroducedtoWoodysdaughterandwifetalkingabouthislife
beforehefelltotheillnessandhisloveformusic.Woodygreatlyvaluesmusic.He
whistlestoasongasheisshownsittingonacouchinthenursinghome.Thecaregiver
asksquestionstothepatients,somewhoseemtobeinthemidstageofalzheimersand
otherinthelatestagesuchasWoody.Anoldladycriesrepeatedlyinthebackground
mumbling,Icantdothis,Idontlikeitassherubsherface.Sheispaidnoattention
toasitseemsithasbecomeanorm.Woodyhasdevelopedanattachmenttooneofthe
patientsinthenursinghome.HernameisKathyandtheyareveryaffectiontowardseach
otherandcanbeseeneverywheretogether.Kathytellsallthefolksatthehomethat
Woodyisherhusbandandheagrees.WhenWoodyswifeanddaughtercometovisit,
theygreetKathyalmostasifshehasbecomefamilytothem.Theytakehimouttoa
grunyonandduringthecarrideherepetitivelyasksthesamequestions.Whyarewein
here?Wherearewegoing?WillIknowthesepeople?Hisfamilyhasbecome
accustomedtobehaviorastheymakesmalljokesabouttheissue.WhileWoodyisatthe
grunyon,theyhonorhimonstageandhesangsongswithhisoldcompanions.Itisalmost
intriguingtowatchWoodysingthesongswordforword,asthealzheimershasnotyet
affectedallofhislongtermmemories.

1422minutes
Thesceneisintroducedonavastfarmlandareawithasoothinggustof

windblowinginthebackground.Josephineisplayingwithametalchainwrappedaround
agateasshehumsandmakesarepetitivenoise.Thechainisusedasprotectivemeasures
sothatshedoesnotgowanderingoff.Herdaughterisnowonthescenetalkingabouther
fearsforhermotherasshebeginstocry.Josephinehasbecomeunawareofher
surroundingsandbarelywithholdsanyrecollectionofanyform.Shemainlyinteracts
withobjectaroundherandcommunicateswithherself.Beforeencounteringalzheimers,
Josephinepaintedalotandsoshetendstopaintoverheroldcanvasesoronrocksthat
shefinds.Thisindicatesthat,thatpartofherhasntcompletelyleftasyet.Whiletheyare
outforawalk,herdaughterpicksupasmallstoneandshowsittoher.Josephinetakes
thestoneandproceedstoputtingitinhermouth.Herdaughtertriestoremaincalmso
shecanremovethestonefromhermouthbutJosephinerefusedandbecamedefensive.
Afteritisremoved,thesceneswitchestothekitchenwherethedaughterblamesherself
andstartstocry.Inthefinalscene,theygotocollectthemailandJosephinetriesto
wanderoffaloneandsheisquicklygrabbedanddirectedhomebythedaughter.

2333minutesThescenestartswithClifflayingstillinbedwithanoldTVshow
playingonthetelevisioninthebackground.Hiswifethenwalksintotheroomandsees
himtryingtogetoutofbedasshelayshimbackdownandaskshimtoremaininbed,
althoughsheknowsitisamatterofsecondsbeforehetriestomoveagain.Sheclaimsthe
reasonforhimattemptingtogetoutofbedisarepresentationofknowinghehas
somewheretobe.Shehashiredapersonalhomecaregivertofeed,groomandwashhim.
Hiswifestatesthathelikesthingsalmostaschildrendo,suchasexcessivelysweetand
fattyfoods.Assheprepareshimamealsheputsalotofbutterandsugaronthefood
becausehewonthaveitanyotherway.Alittlesnippetofphotosisshownonthescreen
ofCliffinhisyoungerdaysperforminginhismagicshowsforchildren.Followingthis
scenehebeginstotalktohimselfandsays,Igottodoashowtonight,6:00orletssee
6:30andIgottamakeallkittiesdisappear.Hestillcontinuestotalkabouttheshow
whichdemonstrateshowgreatofanimpactithadonhislife.Whenheisremovedfrom
hisbedandtakenintothelivingroom,heaskshiswifetogethimhisyellowpaperand
hisbook,whichwerethingsheusedpriortohisshows.Thisaspectofhismemory
remainsunaffected.Inordertogethimtostopspeakingaboutit,hiswifemakessomeone
callthehousephonetosayithasbeencancelledandshedeliversthemessagetohim.

OBSERVATION3

SUNDAY,FEBRUARY8,2015

HBO:THEALZHEIMERSPROJECTTHECHILDREN

Note:Thevideois30minuteslongandIwillbeobservingtheentirefootageasthisisfilmed
slightlydifferentfromthetwopreviousobservations.Thereare3lessonsgiventhroughoutthe
film.Thetimeswillbebrokendownbasedonwheneachnewlessonbegins.

BackgroundInformation
:

Thisaspectoftheprojectsdoesnotnecessarilyfocusonthelivesofthosewith
Alzheimersandhowitaffectsthem,rather,howitaffectsthelivesoftheir
grandchildren.Thechildrenareintroducedandeachshareaverybriefsummaryoftheir
situation.Itultimatelyservespurposetohelpthechildrenbecomemoreawareofwhatis
happeningtotheirgrandparentsandwhyitishappening.

MainActorsThroughouttheFilm
:

1. MariaShriverage61TheauthorofthebookWhatishappeningtomygrandpa
isthenarratorofthisdocumentary.Herfatherfellilltoalzheimersandsoshe
decidedtocreateafilmthatarevictimsofgrandparentswiththedisease.She
givescommentarythroughoutthefilmandlessonstohelpthechildrenwiththeir
concerns.

2. Saralyn,age8IremembermygrandmotheralotbeforeshegotAlzheimers
disease,whenshecouldspeak,whenshecouldwalkandwhenshecouldhugme.

3. Hayley,age7MygrandpaBrooksisreallygreatandheloveschildren.
Sometimeshedoesremembermyname,sometimeshedoesnt.

4. Genevieve,age13Itseemslikehewasreallysympatheticandunderstoodthat
wereallyneededhimtotalktousaboutit.

5. Margaret,age10(Genevievessister)Itmakesusnervouswhenwethinkabout
ourgrandpaandallthealzheimersthingsthatcouldhappen.Hewon'teven
rememberme,soitwillbelikeImastranger.

6. Liam,age8(GenevieveandMargaretsbrother)Onceherealyforgetsus,I
thinkwellbereallyreallysadbutfornowwereworriedabouthimbutwerenot
toosad.

7. Drew,age12IusedtothinkitwassomehowmyfaultbutnowIknowIjust
thinkitssomethingthathappensanditsjustmutationsinthegenesor
something.

8. Daylen,age7Ihaveagrandfatherthathasalzheimers.Itsasicknessthat
makesthepersonthatsgotitnotrememberthings.

TheObservation

28minsGenevievesitsonaparkbenchwatchingakiteflywithhergrandfather.She
questionshimaboutwhetherornothewillforgetheronemomentandthenrememberherthe
nextandthenultimatelyforgetshercompletely.Inasaddenedbutsoothingvoicehetellsher,I
wouldwanttonoteverhavethathappenbutifIdoforgetyou,iprobablywillneverremember
youagain.Genevievelookstobehurtbutratherunderstandingbywhathehassaid.Theyare
joinedbytheother2grandchildrenandhiswifeastheymovetoapicnictableandtheyaskhim
questionsaswell.Atonepointheisaskedifherememberstheirmothersnameandhejokingly
says,mother.Whentheyrealizedhecouldnotrememberthename,theyhelpedhimout.Maria
Shriverbeginshercommentaryonthefirstlessonandsaysshebelievesthatthemorefamiliessit
downandhaveopendiscussionsaboutthesituation,theeasieritistocope.

II.
The
Interview

Nameofinterviewee
:RobertoVargas
Age
:18
Attends
:UniversityOfNorthCarolina,Charlotte

Iconductedmyinterviewononeofmyfellowclassmates,RobertoVargas.Robertos
grandmotheris90yearsoldandsuffersfromlatestageAlzheimers.Duetothefactthat
hehasfirsthandexperience,itmadesensetocarryoutmyinterviewwithhimashewas
agoodcandidateandwouldbeabletorelatemoretothequestionsasked.

1. Whatwasitlikeorhowdidyoureactwhenyoufoundoutyourgrandmotherwas
diagnosedwithAlzheimers?
Um,ImeanIdidnthaveareactionbecauseIdidntreallyknowwhatalzheimers
wasuntilIgotolder.

2.HowoldwereyouwhenyoufoundoutshehasAlzheimers?Didyouhaveany
knowledgeonwhatthatwas?

Iwasaround9or10andatthetime,IwasyoungsoIdidn'treallyknowwhatthat
meant.

3.Doyourememberanythingspecificthatshedidasaresultoftheillness?
Shewouldalwaysloseherpurse.Always.Onceshelostherpurseandittookusabout
2monthstofindit

4.Doyouhavememoriesofhowshewaspriortobeingdiagnosedwiththe
illness?
Shewouldalwayscookandshewouldcookthebestfoodeverandshewasnice.But
whatIremembermostwashercookingbecauseitwasalwaysonpoint.

5.Ifatall,howhasitaffectedyourrelationshipwithher?
NowIfeellikewedonttalkmuchbecausesheforgetseverythingsotheillnesshas
inhibitedusfromgettingcloser.

III.
Analyze

Dealingwithapatientthatsuffersfromalzheimerscanbeextremelychallenging,
frustratingforsomeandemotionaldependingonyourrelationshipwiththeindividual.Itrequires
agreatdealofpatienceandtime.Onerulefordealingwithapatientwithalzheimersisto
refrainfromignoringthem.Thoughattimestheirrepetitivequestionscanbecomeanuisance,
avoidshuttingthemout.Itsperfectlyokaytointeractwiththemeventhoughtheyllsoonforget
again,youshouldtrytotreatthemasiftheyreanothercolleagueandnotjustapersonwiththe
illness.Trynottoquestionthemorquizthemaboutthingsinhopesthattheyremember.Asking
avarietyofquestionswillonlycausethemmoreanxiety.Tryingtomakethemremember
everythinglongeronlyaddsstresstotheirmindsandisinnowaybeneficialtothem.Theyhave
thediseaseanditwillprogressregardlessofwhatisdonesoinasensethisisonlybenefiting
you.Apartofyoudoesntwanttoletthatpersongosoyoutaketheextrameasurestoslowthe
progression,thequickeryouacceptitthebetteritis.Anotherwaytodealisbygoingwiththe
flowofwhatisbeingsaid.Patientswithalzheimerstendtohavepoorjudgementabouttheir

surroundings,soiftheyinsistoncallingatree,abuildingjustgowiththeflow.Bycorrecting
them,itisnthelpingthesituationbutyoucouldalwaystrytoseethingsintheirperspectiveand
makeconversationfromthere.Asitworsenstheywillneedtobeunderfullcare,astheylloften
misplacevaluablethings,wanderaroundtheneighborhood,attempttodriveevenwhentheyve
lostthatabilitytoandeventuallyunabletotakecareofthemselves,physically.

Alzheimerspatientsandneedforattention
Alzheimerspatientsandrepetitivequestions
Misunderstandingsoftheirsurroundingsandwhatgoeson

SearchTerms
Impactofalzheimersonthememoryaspectofthebrain(hippocampus)
Alzheimerpatientsinabilitytocareforthemselves
Alzheimersimpactoncognition

IV.
SearchTimes

Sources
ImpactofAlzheimersonthe
hippocampus

1. Schuff,N.,N.Woerner,L.Boreta,
T.Kornfield,L.M.Shaw,J.Q.
Trojanowski,P.M.Thompson,C.
R.Jack,andM.W.Weiner."MRI
ofHippocampalVolumeLossin
EarlyAlzheimer'sDiseasein
RelationtoApoEGenotypeand
Biomarkers."
Brain
132.4(2008):
1067077.Web.09Feb.2016.
2. Samuel,W.,E.Masliah,L.R.
Hill,N.Butters,andR.Terry.
"HippocampalConnectivityand
Alzheimer'sDementia:Effectsof
SynapseLossandTangle
FrequencyinaTwocomponent
Model."
Neurology
44.11(1994):
2081.Web.09Feb.2016.


Alzheimerspatientsinabilitytocarefor
themselves

1. Barnes,R.F.,Raskind,M.A.,
Scott,M.andMurphy,C.(1981),
ProblemsofFamiliesCaringfor
AlzheimerPatients:Useofa
SupportGroup.Journalofthe
AmericanGeriatricsSociety,29:
8085.doi:
10.1111/j.15325415.1981.tb0123
3.x

Alzheimersimpactoncognition

1. Wilson,RobertS.,andDavidA.
Bennett.CognitiveActivityand
RiskofAlzheimer'sDisease.
CurrentDirectionsin
PsychologicalScience
12.3
(2003):8791.Web...

V.
Propose

Inthepastyears,Alzheimershasmadeadrasticincreaseinthelivesofpeopleworldwide.
Thereisnocuresopatientsrelyonmedicationtoslowitsprogress.Ineachofthevideos,asit
showshowindividualsliveandcopewithalzheimers,wegetmoreofaninsightonthenegative
impactitplacesonaperson.Foreverypatient,somethingnewislearnedandhelpsthosearound
thembetterunderstandtheillness.Throughouttheresearchwelearnmoreaboutitsstagesof
progressionandtheirseverity.Iaminterestedinitsdevelopingprocessandthecontributing
factorsofsomeonebecomingavictimofalzheimers.Thispaperwillcontinuetoexplorethe
waypatientsliveasaresultandtheeffectofalzheimersonnottheentiretyofthebrainbut
ratherthepartthatprocessesinformation.