"My Name Is Lisa" -- A Powerful Short Film About Alzheimer's Disease



"You want to have some idea what it is like to be a care-provider for someone with Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia? Watch it."

            -- Jim Downey

Before reading the rest of this essay, watch the following piece.

My Name Is Lisa

:: ::

My wife and I married in the first quarter of 2003; I was living in Rhode Island at the time, and moved in with her and her mother when we married. The plan was simple: within a month or two, buy or rent a house in the immediate or nearby neighborhood so we'd be close to her mom.

It didn't work out that way.

Shortly after I moved in, we realized her mother was having some issues. We didn't know at the time -- but quickly found out -- that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. As I'd had experience working with dementia patients before and my work as a consultant enabled me to do a lot from the house, I was the normal choice for staying at home with "Mumsie" and providing support while we investigated our options. We didn't have a lot of choices available to us at the time; we were both adamant about wanting to care for Mumsie at home as long as possible.

Long story short, we lasted as long as we could as home caregivers, but eventually had to put Mumsie into a nursing home around the middle of 2007; she passed away this past December.

I kept a haphazard record of our lives through those times using a written journal and -- later -- through some blog entries. It was through my participation on DailyKos that I became aware of another person who, like me, was caring for his mother-in-law at home -- James Downey, a.k.a. Shadan7. Jim was more organized and thorough than I was about recording the events and effects of the changes as his mother-in-law's disease progressed. His blog was -- and remains -- rich with anecdotes and references that help convey the myriad of emotions and challenges that face Alzheimer's patients, families and caregivers.

We've been in touch -- we found it an odd coincidence that we ran into each other, as we'd each heard that it was rare to find a son-in-law serving as the primary caretaker of his mother-in-law. Our personal stories are different, just as our mother-in-laws and our wives are different, yet we shared a common thread of understanding regarding the ups and downs and day-to-day events that comprise the role of an Alzheimer patient's caretaker.

I was reading through some of Jim's entries today -- several of which I'd initially missed -- and stumbled across one particular entry that contained a very powerful video...the video that is embedded at the top of this piece.

I was floored.

I was nostalgic.

I was thrilled. I was sad. I missed Mumsie.

I felt relief -- for myself, for my wife, but most of all for Mumsie. And I had to share the video with everyone. As Jim said in his blog entry,


That’s basically the last six years of my life compressed into six minutes. You want to have some idea what it is like to be a care-provider for someone with Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia? Watch it.

            -- Jim Downey, 12/18/2007

Less than 24 hours after Jim posted this video, Mumsie passed quietly away.


To read more of Jim Downey's pieces related to Alzheimer's Disease and the caretaking of his mother-in-law, Martha Sr., just go to his blog Communion of Dreams. The link provided is the URL for the tag "Alzheimers" -- it should bring up all his related pieces.

Special thanks to Jim Downey for the supplying the links to the video and to his blog, and just for being him; my wife and I took comfort from the fact that we were not alone in our situation, and that we knew at least one other couple who were going through a very similar experience to our own.


About "My Name Is Lisa" and SheltonFilms

The director of the video put a Director's Cut up on YouTube as well. Here it is, for those who have made it this far:

From the YouTube moreinfo blurb:


Added: November 06, 2007 (Less info) Winner - Best Short Film of 2007 3rd Prize Winner ~ Project: Direct Official Selection ~ Short Film Corner ~ Cannes 2008 Official Selection ~ Now Film Festival Official Selection ~ Portable Film Festival (Australia) Official Selection ~ California Next Gen Film Festival Finalist ~ Crackle Shorts Contest "My Name is Lisa" is a short film about the Alzheimer's Disease, which is one of many serious and scary diseases still without a cure. Alzheimer's causes gradual memory loss. 250,000 children, age 8-18 are caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. To find out more and take action, visit: http://www.actionalz.org/

Rate "My Name is Lisa" on IMDB: http://imdb.com/title/tt1206544/

Watch the Director's Video Log here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_QL2n...

"my name is lisa" is a short film from http://SheltonFilms.com

directed by ben shelton

written by ben & josh shelton

cast carlie nettles as LISA

sally smythe as MOM

jeff grimm as PIZZA DELIVERY GUY

crew troy peebles gillian zwick

thank you eric ankrim john d'aquino stephen godwin david kerwin jacques slade

music by josh shelton

written by ben and josh shelton

directed by ben shelton




c/o 1999 &
c/o 2006

for more comedic content & music videos, go to: http://BENandERIC.com


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