Have you watched the movie The Father (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10272386/)?
The movie depicts the reality of someone living with dementia, illustrated from the perspective of the sufferer. It is a rare opportunity to enter the world of someone whose fabric of reality has been wrecked and afflicted by the condition.
Thanks to the award-winning acting by its cast (Sir Anthony Hopkins was amazing!), the movie pulls us in, often in an uncomfortable manner, and forces us to relinquish our cognitive power and lean on our emotions to truly journey with the story instead.
The scenes illustrate the typical confusing, blurry, and disturbing reality lived in by dementia patients as The Father starts mixing people up, timeline, places, and events. Many caregivers of people with dementia in real life struggle with acceptance of the condition of their loved one, and often label them as simply being “difficult”. However, what we need to realize and remember is that our loved ones are not intentionally being difficult, but they are having difficult times themselves.
Related to my previous blog entry about person-centred caregiving (https://www.elephant.com.sg/blog.php#8Apr21), the movie highlights that the importance of staying in the present moment, and being attuned to emotions and needs (ours and our loved ones’) cannot be emphasized enough.
In one of the last scenes, the movie showed a state of regression as Anthony (The Father) was feeling distressed and asking for his mother. Instead of re-orienting him to reality and explaining that his mother is no longer around, the caregiver understood his need for comfort and embraced him in a hug before redirecting him to an invitation for a walk in the park.
The movie is disorienting, even for me as a professional caregiver for people with dementia. However it is disorienting in a good way, because not only it shows a realistic experience of someone afflicted with dementia, but it also teaches us a sense of empathy and compassion. A highly recommended watch!