After seventy-six-year-old Caro Spencer suffers a heart attack, her family sends her to a private retirement home to wait out the rest of her days. Her memory growing fuzzy, Caro decides to keep a journal to document the daily goings-on—her feelings of confinement and boredom; her distrust of the home’s owner, Harriet Hatfield, and her daughter, Rose; her pity for the more incapacitated residents; her resentment of her brother, John, for leaving her alone. The journal entries describe not only her frustrations, but also small moments of beauty—found in a welcome visit from her minister, or in watching a bird in the garden. But as she writes, Caro grows increasingly sensitive to the casual atrocities of retirement-home life. Even as she acknowledges her mind is beginning to fail, she is determined to fight back against the injustices foisted upon the home’s occupants.
Publisher: The Women’s Press Ltd
“When the novel opens, Diana’s twin brother, David, a widower in his mid-sixties, is looking back on his life. As memories swamp him, he decides to take a critical step: to beg for his sister’s forgiveness. Diana has never met David’s two daughters. She has no idea how many grandchildren he has. David doesn’t know Diana’s longtime lover, Constance, housebound by advancing memory loss and for whom Diana writes the day’s events on an erasable board to help her keep track of a life that’s slipping away. Estranged for nearly forty years, David appears at Diana’s dinner table, throwing her life into turmoil. But as she and her brother begin to rediscover each other, they both find the strength to move on with their lives. Told in Diana and David’s alternating points of view, Memory Board makes a powerful case for living in the present and making every moment count.”
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But theres one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, Maud will get to the bottom of it. A debut novel about a mind in the grips of dementia.
A 2014 film based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 bestselling novel of the same name. The film stars Julianne Moore as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor at Columbia diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease.
Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
A middle-aged woman named Deborah, who has been in a comatose state for thirty years as a result of contracting “sleepy sickness,” encephalitis lethargica, awakes with a mind still that of a sixteen-year-old. She must confront a body which seems to have aged without her prior knowledge or consent.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple’s bond of love is severely tested.
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
What do you do when your outspoken, passionate, and quick-witted mother starts fading into a forgetful, fearful woman? In this powerful graphic memoir, Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer’s disease transformed her mother Midge–and her family–forever.In spare black and white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family’s journey through a harrowing range of emotions–shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration–all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness. Midge, a Harvard-educated intellectual, struggles to comprehend the simplest words; Sarah’s father Rob slowly adapts to his new role as full-time caretaker, but still finds time for word-play and poetry with his wife; Sarah and her sister Hannah argue, laugh, and grieve together as they join forces to help Midge get to sleep, rage about family friends who have disappeared, or collapse in tears at the end of a heartbreaking day.”Tangles” provides a window on the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately opens a knot of moments, memories, and dreams to reveal a bond between a mother and a daughter that will never come apart.
A biographical film that tells the story of novelist Iris Murdoch and her relationship with John Bayley. The film contrasts the start of their relationship, when Murdoch (Kate Winslet) was an outgoing, dominant individual as compared to her timid and scholarly partner Bayley (Hugh Bonneville), and their later life, when Murdoch (Judi Dench) was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and tended to by a frustrated Bayley (Jim Broadbent) in their North Oxford home in Charlbury Road.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears. ‘It is a book of such meditative calm, such spiritual intensity that is seems miraculous that her silence was only for 23 years; such measure of wisdom is the fruit of a lifetime. Robinson’s prose, aligned with the sublime simplicity of the language of the bible, is nothing short of a benediction. You might not share its faith, but it is difficult not to be awed moved and ultimately humbled by the spiritual effulgence that lights up the novel from within’ Neel Mukherjee, The Times
The original televison series was broadcast on the BBC in 1986, the six episodes merge ‘storylines’ from three settings a ‘pulp fiction’ thriller, childhood memory and the hospital ward in which the main character is being treated for his severe psoriasis. Many aspects of the work were drawn from experience, the writer Dennis Potter suffered from psoriasis.
This short clip gives a little sense of the rich observation, visual invention, humour and humanity of the best of Potter’s work…
Credits: Produced by Kenith Trodd and John Harris. Written by Dennis Potter. Directed by Jon Amiel. Original music by Stanley Myers.
Cast: (Includes) Michael Gambon,
Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley, Janet Suzman, Lyndon Davies.
Date: Originally issued 1986.
John Bayley was married to the writer Dame Iris Murdoch from 1956 until her death in 1999. When Iris was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he wrote the book Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch, which was made into the 2001 film Iris by Richard Eyre. When Iris begins experiencing forgetfulness and dementia, the ever-doltish but devoted John struggles with hopelessness and frustration to become her caretaker, as his wife’s mind deteriorates from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Author: Bayley, John
Title: Iris: a memoir of Iris Murdoch