In Touching Video, People with Alzheimer’s Tell Us Which Memories They Never Want to Forget

Direc­tor Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 1999 film After­life tasks its recent­ly deceased char­ac­ters with choos­ing a sin­gle mem­o­ry to take with them, as they move into the great unknown.

The sub­jects of “On Mem­o­ry,” above, are all very much alive, but they too, have great cause to sift through a life­time’s worth of mem­o­ries. All have been diag­nosed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease. They range in age from 48 to 70. Two have been liv­ing with their diag­noses for six years. The baby of the group received hers just last year.

Those who have no per­son­al con­nec­tion to Alzheimer’s are like­ly to have a clear­er pic­ture of the disease’s advanced stage than its ear­ly pre­sen­ta­tion. A few min­utes with Myr­i­am Mar­quez, Lon Cole, Frances Smersh, Irene Japha, Nan­cy John­son, and Bob Welling­ton should rem­e­dy that.

All six are able to recall and describe the sig­nif­i­cant events of their youth. At the interviewer’s request, they reflect on the pain of los­ing beloved par­ents and the plea­sure of first kiss­es. Their pow­ers of sen­so­ry recall bring back their ear­li­est mem­o­ries, includ­ing what the weath­er was like that day.

The recent past? Much hazier. At present, these indi­vid­u­als’ mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment resem­ble benign age-relat­ed mem­o­ry slips quite close­ly. Their diag­noses are what lends urgency to their answers. The prospect of for­get­ting chil­dren and spouse’s names is very real to them.

Knowl­edge of the inter­vie­wees’ diag­noses can’t but help sharp­en view­ers’ eyes for dis­tinct facial expres­sions, speech pat­terns, and indi­vid­ual tem­pera­ments. They share a com­mon diag­no­sis, but for now, there’s no dif­fi­cul­ty dis­tin­guish­ing between the six unique per­son­al­i­ties, each informed by a wealth of expe­ri­ence.

The video is a step up for viral video pro­duc­er Cut, cre­ator of such inter­net sen­sa­tions as the Truth or Drink series and Grand­mas Smok­ing Weed for the First Time. This video, which directs view­ers to the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion for more infor­ma­tion, deserves an even wider audi­ence.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Exis­ten­tial­ist Psy­chol­o­gist Vik­tor Fran­kl Explains How to Find Mean­ing in Life, No Mat­ter What Chal­lenges You Face

Dai­ly Med­i­ta­tion Boosts & Revi­tal­izes the Brain and Reduces Stress, Har­vard Study Finds

Play­ing an Instru­ment Is a Great Work­out For Your Brain: New Ani­ma­tion Explains Why

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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