Dementia films and documentaries

If you’re like me, you like watching films about dementia 🙂

Here’s a list of films about dementia for your viewing pleasure. Most are in English, but I hope to keep growing the list!

You can also look under Reviews on my blog to read about films I have seen.

If you watch one of these or have others to add to the list, I would love to get your opinion in the comments below!

Alzheimers and Dementia Films and Documentaries


Produced by: Shigeru Ota.
Directed by: Naomi Kazama.

A Japanese-American documentary from 2012

“Do you know what my name is ?” For a year now, asking this question has been my daily task. The people I ask: women who have three times the life experience as I do.

My name is John. I work at nursing home for the elderly in Cleveland, Ohio, where I have been for the past year. With an average age of 80, the residents here spend twilight years in quiet comfort, many living with Alzheimer’s disease.

This documentary follows a research study of a treatment in Cleveland, Ohio. It pursues the answers to what it means to live a happy life, and what may be considered a truly happy conclusion to that life.


The six-month-long treatment put into action is the fruit of the cooperative research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima and KUMON. It was developed in Japan in over a decade of practical application in collaboration with professional caregivers at care facilities. Sessions take place every day for 30 minutes. They consist of short reading and writing exercises and simple arithmetic questions, all administered in a conversational manner by facility staff. In 2011, 23 live-in residents with dementia participated in the treatment at the Eliza Jennings Home in Cleveland. This was the first trial of the program outside of Japan.

“THE SUM TOTAL OF OUR MEMORY:  Facing Alzheimer’s Together”

Produced by Barbara Klutinis.

American documentary from 2014

“With this film, I wanted to put a face on this disease that has so often been out of the public eye. I did not identify the interviewees with the traditional titles because I feel they are ‘everyman,’ not famous people like Glen Campbell, Pat Summitt, or Ronald Reagan, but everyday people struggling alongside a diagnosis of a terrible illness. I wanted to bring to light some of the many issues that accompany a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, both practical and emotional.”

In this documentary video, couples affected by a partner’s recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s come to terms with their changing roles. Prominent Alzheimer’s medical experts offer their perspectives on diagnosis, the nature of the disease in the aging brain, helpful attitudes in caring for loved ones, stigma, support for caregivers, clinical trials, and overall healthcare concerns.

Documentary The Sum Total of Our Memory


Produced by Louis Theroux. BBC.

A British documentary from 2012.

Louis travels to Phoenix, Arizona – the capital of dementia care. He spends time at Beatitudes, a residential institution, and also with those looking after loved ones at home to try to understand the struggle of living in a world of encroaching shadows – and of keeping relationships alive in circumstances that can be among the strangest and most challenging imaginable.

“It’s reckoned that one in eight Americans aged 65 and over has Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of dementia. Nearly half of the over 85s has the disease. As medical science has become better and better at prolonging our lives, the mental side of things hasn’t kept pace. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Phoenix. For years Phoenix has been a mecca for America’s elderly, who are attracted by the year-round sun and dry desert heat.
Now increasingly it is a kind of capital of the forgetful and the confused. Not coincidentally, Phoenix is also pioneering the way dementia sufferers are cared for and treated.”
You can also see the full film (58 minutes) online


Produced and Directed by: Joleen Firek. You can also read her blog, Frankly Speaking Alz, about dementia and her family.

A documentary of a daughter filming her father’s journey and end with dementia.

The documentary, Sparky: Connection of Courage, is a heartwarming father/daughter love story, which demonstrates the power of love in the face of death. The movie’s mission is to raise disease awareness and to teach caregivers that they can survive this life-changing experience. Sometimes you have to reach out for help.  Sometimes you have to look inside.

Alzheimer's Documentary SparkyConnection of Courage


Directed by: Bill Couturié. Produced by: HBO Documentary Films.

American documentary from 2009.

“HBO’s ‘The Alzheimer’s Project‘ takes a look at the faces behind the disease – and the forces leading us to find a cure. This multi-platform series reveals groundbreaking Alzheimer’s discoveries and the effects this debilitating and fatal disease has on those with Alzheimer’s and their families. Caregivers is a collection of five portraits, each of which highlights the sacrifices and successes of people experiencing their loved one’s gradual descent into dementia.
The Caregivers  Alzheimers Project HBO


Produced By: HBO Documentary, The National Institute on Aging at The National Institutes of Health, John Hoffman, Maria Shriver.

An American documentary series that started in 2009.

HBO Film The Alzheimers Project


Produced by: Jeffrey Morgan.

An American documentary from 2010. It’s 22 minutes long, you can see the full film below.

“It’s hard, it’s really hard. I work full time, you know I have a husband family try and do everything and I want to do what’s right for her. I want to do what I know I should be doing for her.” 
The Caregivers Documentary is a film by Jeffrey Morgan and tells the stories of four different families who are coping with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Caregivers Documentary Alzheimers Caregivers


Produced by: Petra Seeger. Icarus Films.

An Austrian documentary from 2009. It’s an autobiography documentary written by and about Eric Kandel, Nobel Prize winner and one of the most important neural scientists of the 20th century.

” ‘Memory is everything. Without it we are nothing,’ says neuroscientist Eric Kandel, winner of the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking research on the physiology of the brain’s storage of memories.

As he explains, memory is the glue that binds our mental life together and provides a sense of continuity in our lives.”
“Both through its personal journey into the memory of this amazingly spry and witty 79-year old, especially his traumatic experiences during the Holocaust, and a visit to his Columbia University laboratory, where Kandel and his colleagues demonstrate their experimental research, ‘In Search of Memory’ examines how the brain stores memories, the difference between short-term and long-term memory, Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss, and structural modifications to the brain that enhance memory.”

” ‘In Search of Memory’ is a compelling blend of autobiography and history that recounts the life of one of the most important neuroscientists of the 20th century and illuminates scientific developments in our understanding of the brain’s role in recording and preserving memory. In addition to archival footage and dramatic re-creations of Kandel’s childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied Vienna and his formative years as an emigrant in New York, the film features discussions with Kandel, friends and family, as well as his public lectures in Vienna and New York, which explore both his professional and personal life, especially his emotional ties to Judaism.

In Search of Memory
You can watch the full film (94 minutes) in the video below


Produced by: TMK Productions, Inc.
Hosted by: National Public Radio personality Richard Steele.

” ‘Facing Alzheimer’s: An African American Perspective’ examines the challenges many African-American families face today as they try to deal with this difficult and often misunderstood disease. Hosted by National Public Radio personality Richard Steele, ‘Facing Alzheimer’s’ features interviews with doctors, caregivers, patients, church groups, support organizations, as well as home health and long-term care providers. The documentary delves into the symptoms, cultural issues and community resources that are available to those coping with this debilitating disease.” TMK Productions are distributed to PBS through American Public Television.

“The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a major decision, especially from the African American community, we are a proud people and when I say that I mean that we’re used to taking responsibility for each other.”


Produced by: Holly Bourne Starecka and Sue Bourne. Wellpark Productions.

A documentary from the UK 2008. You can also read Sue’s blog here.

One of my favourite memories is when Mum points to a photograph on the wall of a man she thinks is her father. I tell her that the man is not her father. Actually he’s John, my father, Ethel’s husband of 49 years who has since died. Ethel laughs: ‘Well that’s why he’s so bloody familiar.’ Again and again she laughed at even the saddest things.

“Sue’s mother Ethel has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home in Scotland. For three years Sue and her daughter Holly filmed the time they spent together with Ethel. The reason Bourne wanted to make this film was that everything she had seen about Alzheimer’s had been terribly sad and depressing. Yet her experience with Holly and Ethel was that, in spite of her mother having Alzheimer’s, the three of them still managed to laugh and enjoy their time together.”

The film ‘Mum and Me’ directed by Sue Bourne tells the story of Sue’s own mother. The film documents what it is like for Sue’s mum to live with Alzheimer’s and the effects on her family with an honest, no holds barred approach. The film also highlights three generations of mother, daughter and granddaughter and how each is affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimers Documentary Mum and Me Sue Bourne


Produced by: The Alzheimer Society of Canada.

“Music can be a powerful source of joy, comfort and inspiration in our lives. People living with dementia and their family members attest to the important role music has in their lives. Research, some of it proudly sponsored by the Alzheimer Society, confirms this. The Alzheimer Society created the video, ‘When Words Fail, Music Speaks’ to show the positive affect of music and released this video at the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in March 2011, in Toronto.

Alzheimer Society When Words Fail Music Speaks


Produced And Directed by: Michael Rossato-Bennett.

An American documentary from 2014. You can also read my review of Alive Inside.

“Alzheimer’s and dementia are a reality for an increasing and often unseen population. Though well intentioned, many nursing homes are not equipped to fully meet the needs of these residents.  We are left with several questions without any real or comforting answers: How do I want to age? What can we do for our loved ones? Can we do better? “Alive Inside” investigates these questions and the power music has to awaken deeply locked memories. The film follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home.  To his and the staff’s surprise many residents suffering from memory loss seem to “awaken” when they are able to listen to music from their past.  With great excitement, Dan turns to renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, and we follow them both as we investigate the mysterious way music functions inside our brains and our lives.”

The aim of the documentary “Alive Inside” is to promote personalized music programs in nursing homes and as a legitimate form of music therapy to help care for seniors with dementia. Find out more about “IPOD Music and Memory” Program which the documentary “Alive Inside” is based on.


Directed by: James Dreyer.

An American documentary from 2010. As far as I can tell, you can only rent the film on Amazon.

“Tracy & Jess: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s” is the amazing story of two women diagnosed with the disease at early ages. The film focuses on the challenges and triumphs of Tracy, Jess, and their families.

“When dementia is diagnosed at 30 and 40 years old...”

“Of the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, only 5 to 10 percent develop symptoms before age 65. Experts estimate that some 500,000 people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. ‘Tracy & Jess: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s’ is the amazing story of two women diagnosed with the disease at early ages. The film focuses on the challenges and triumphs of Tracy, Jess, and their families.”

Dementia Film Tracy & Jess: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer's


Directed By: Eric Ellena and Berna Huebner.

An American documentary from 2009.

I Remember Better When I Paint is a feature length international documentary film about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies in people with Alzheimer’s disease and how these approaches can change the way the disease is viewed by society. The film examines the way creative arts bypass the limitations of dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s and shows how patients’ still-vibrant imaginations are strengthened through therapeutic art.

Dementia Film I Remember Better When I Paint


Produced by: Video Press – Med School Maryland Productions.
Narrated by: Peter V. Rabins.

Nancy is in the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease and has trouble keeping her train of thought, but she can still have fun and communicate with the right approach. Bob takes care of his wife and explains that things can be difficult, but that patience and understanding are the key to a successful 36-hour day with Alzheimer’s.

This short clip is an introduction to “Alzheimer’s, The 36-Hour Day”, a video companion to the best-selling book on Alzheimer’s disease titled “The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life” co-authored by Dr. Peter Rabins.

You can purchase the 25 minute film from the University of Maryland for $50 here, or on Amazon.

Dementia Film Alzheimers The 36 Hour Day Caregivers


Produced by: Michael Verde.
Directed by: Ted Kay.

An American documentary from 2007 on the importance of continued communication in Alzheimer’s disease.

There Is A Bridge


Produced and Directed by: Deborah Hoffmann.

An American documentary from 1994, first aired on Public Broadcasting (PBS).

Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Deborah Hoffmann, with her wife, Frances Reid, as cinematographer. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film is about the struggle of Doris Hoffman, mother of the director and widow of Albert Einstein‘s associate Banesh Hoffmann, with Alzheimer’s disease.

“With profound insight and a healthy dose of humor, Complaints Of A Dutiful Daughter chronicles the various stages of a mother’s Alzheimers Disease and the evolution of a daughters response to the illness. The desire to cure the incurable to set right her mothers confusion and forgetfulness, to temper her mother’s obsessiveness gives way to an acceptance which is finally liberating for both daughter and mother. ‘Complaints Of A Dutiful Daughter’ is far more than a story about Alzheimer’s and family careers. It is an exploration of family relations, ageing, the meaning of memory, and the tenacity of love.”

Dementia Film Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter


Produced by: PBS.

An American documentary from 2009, one show in a series on Baby Boomers’ issues from PBS.

“First, our cameras travel to the Indiana home of Mary Ann Becklenberg, a courageous, articulate 64-year-old woman who is speaking out for herself and others in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. A former hospice worker who is now on the Early Stage Advisory Committee for the Alzheimer’s Association, Becklenberg sees her diagnosis as a challenge to inform others about a disease that now afflicts more than five million Americans. Host Robert Lipsyte, an Emmy winner and former New York Times columnist, uses his tough-minded journalistic instincts, ever-ready wit, and very strong opinions to ensure that baby boomers overcome their denial and face facts: the time to do something about age-related issues is right now.”

PBS Life Part 2 The New Face of Alzheimers


Produced by: Video Press – Med School Maryland Productions.

“Grace” is an Emmy award-winning documentary. This classic program follows seven years in the life of Grace Kirkland and the inspirational caregiving efforts of her husband, providing a documentation of Alzheimer’s disease from near the time of diagnosis until death. Tracking Grace from the first stage of the disease where she’s already having short-term memory problems, the program continues to document as she loses her ability to speak and finally her ability to walk and eat.

 Grace provides the extraordinary opportunity to witness first hand the progression of dementia and the related symptoms.
Grace Demtia Film

After its release as a film, Grace was aired on public television and won a regional Emmy award for best documentary as well as top awards in numerous other competitions. This documentary is widely utilized by universities, health professional training programs, Alzheimer’s support groups, and long-term care facilities. It is recommended viewing for everyone working with dementia patients and especially family members.

You can purchase the 56 minute, recommended viewing, award-winning film for a whopping $200 from the University of Maryland. They must primarily have institutions and organizations purchase the film.



Directed By: Paul Watson.

Both are documentaries from the UK, in 1999 and 2007, respectively.

Malcolm and Barbara

NOTICE!  A Controversial moment of death is filmed in ‘Love’s Farewell.’

“In 1999, after four years filming, ITV’s ‘Malcolm and Barbara: A Love Story’ won critical acclaim for the moving account of how Malcolm and Barbara Pointon’s happy lives were turned upsidedown when Malcom developed Alzheimer’s. Eight years on, following Malcolm’s death, a sequel to the film, ‘Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell’ was shown on Australian ITV1.

The documentary chronicles Malcolm’s last moments as he slipped into a coma – he died three days later. There was criticism that these private moments were filmed but Barbara disagrees. She said: ‘If he had been able to speak, Malcolm would have said, ‘go for it’. Throughout his life he believed decisions must be based on the greatest good for the greatest number.”

You can see the 83 minute documentary “Love’s Farewell” below. Unfortunately, I could only find “Love Story” in Spanish on youtube.


Directed and Produced by: Chris Wynn.

Canadian documentary from 2009.

Forgetful Not Forgotten is Chris Wynn’s moving and honest chronicle of his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s and the impact it had on his family. The documentary’s focus on the non-medical impacts of the disease on the family and on Chris’ mother, the primary caregiver, provided the inspiration for the creation of an Alzheimer’s resource and support web site and its mission to bring caregivers together.

‘Forgetful Not Forgotten’ is an intimate portrait of a family coming to grips with the realities of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. When John Wynn is diagnosed with the disease at the relatively young age of 57, his son, Chris, decides to chronicle his family’s journey.

Forgetful Not Forgotten Dementia Film


Directed and Produced by: Chris Wynn.

There is also a Forgetful Not Forgotten 2, which follows John Wynn on his journey of Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease, he moves to a nursing home, deteriorates relatively quickly and dies within six or eight months. This second video is partly about mourning – making hard decisions, losing a parent/spouse, having to move on – and partly a lovely tribute to what remains of the person even when Alzheimer’s disease has ravaged the person’s brain.

The only place I could find to watch the video is here. I haven’t figured out if the 9 minute video is the entire Part 2 or just a long trailer…


Produced by: BBC.

A 2-episode documentary from the UK, 2009.

Businessman Sir Gerry Robinson returns in a new series in which he tries to turn around three struggling care homes. In the next twenty years over a million Britons will have dementia, and sufferers are likely to end up in one of the country’s privately run care homes. It’s a huge business worth six billion pounds, largely paid for by taxation, yet a great deal of the care is woefully inadequate. Can Gerry, whose father had the disease when he died, change a culture of stagnant lounges, a lack of specialist training among staff, and a focus on keeping people alive rather than helping them to live a happy life?

Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes

“…so the work of turning Summervale into a home began – the staff got rid of their uniforms, started eating with the residents and set about filling up the stark empty spaces with distractions such as dolls, toys and other everyday objects. Gerry noticed an immediate impact, not only on residents, but on the staff too. It was fascinating to see how quickly these small changes took hold.”


Produced by: Why Documentaries. Illawarra Ethnic Communities Council. Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care. Alzheimer’s Australia.

Available in Spanish, Arabic, Serbian, Ukrainian, Cambodian, Croatian, Assyrian, and Vietnamese. The Spanish version has English subtitles.

Dementia sufferers tell their own stories and they are backed up by family carers, bilingual doctors, specialists, health workers, religious leaders and community care-professionals. Symptoms of dementia and early intervention are discussed. Subtitling/voice overs are possible in other languages for multi-ethnic communities to better understand and cope with dementia.

The videos deal with cultural understanding and traditions in relation to ageing. Even taboo subjects such as curses and superstitions are discussed, in an attempt to demystify the illness and bring greater understanding and acceptance within individual communities.

Its Not A Disgrace Its Dementia in Spanish


Directed by: Ann Hedreen, Rustin Thompson.
Produced by: Ann Hedreen.

A 59-minute film from 2004. You can rent ($2) or purchase ($15) the film from

This powerful and poetic film combines a moving family journey with an insightful look at the science and politics of Alzheimer’s—a disease that now affects more than 18 million people worldwide. Hedreen’s uncompromising pursuit of possible causes and potential cures takes her from the copper mines of her mother’s childhood home in Butte, Montana to an Alzheimer’s research center in Washington where she volunteers as a research subject—with humorous and humbling results. And her fascinating interviews with prominent doctors and researchers offer insight into the fickle politics of funding and recent controversies surrounding stem-cell research. Interweaving super-8 home movies, 1950s medical films and heartbreaking interviews with her family, Hedreen’s timely film bravely confronts the disease that has mangled the mind of her once beautiful and brainy mom, and raises profound questions about just how important our memories are.”

Dementia Film A Quick Brown Fox An Alzheimers Story


Produced By: ABC Australia, 2006.

This moving documentary looks at the impact of dementia on sufferers and their families. It follows three people with dementia over a period of 12 months. ‘They knocked me right over’, sobs Daphne distraught. ‘I haven’t got anybody.’ A routine trip to the bathroom has gone awry and nothing will console her. But her husband, Jack, has vowed to look after her ‘to the end.’ He brings her fresh muffins, wipes away her tears and hugs her tenderly. ‘You’re my lady and always have been,’ he whispers.

Dementia Film Journey of No Return


Directed and Produced by: Susan Grant and Cindy Dilks.

An American documentary from 2010. Susan has FTD and Cindy is her care partner.

Frontotemporal dementia effects a mostly younger population...This film introduces Frontotemporal Disease (FTD), a dementia second in prevalence to Alzheimer’s Disease. Today, there is no single known cause, treatment or cure for FTD. However, the film provides hope for the future as science is moving at a fast pace.

With unprecedented access inside the mind and life of a patient (Susan) coping with Frontotemporal Disease (FTD), ‘Planning for Hope’ is a documentary and examination of the disease offering a unique look into lives of patients and families effected by FTD.

You also may download a free eBook that accompanies this film, “Know the Early Signs of FTD” at…that will aid you in recognizing the early warning signs of FTD and show you how to approach getting a diagnosis.

Planning for Hope Frontotemporal Dementia FTD

You can also watch the full hour-long documentary here


Produced and Directed by: Jennifer Yee.
Back Light Productions.

An American film from 2010.

Chronicling the worldwide epic created by mountain climber Enzo Simone. ’10 Mountains 10 Years’ is a film that follows his international team of mountain climbers as they scale 10 of the greatest peaks in the world to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. 45 vertical miles. 7 countries. 6 continents. 2 diseases. And one decade. Focusing on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the film tracks the greatest advances happening in the medical community alongside the team’s endurance at altitude. Over 92 million people worldwide have a family member battling Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease. This is a story of hope and of common everyday people coming together to change this world and leave something better behind. A collaboration with the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and the Focus On a Cure Foundation for Parkinson’s, proceeds from the movie go towards medical research and caregiver programs.

Planning for Hope Frontotemporal Dementia FTD


Produced by: Scott Kirschenbaum, Shane Boris.
Directed by: Scott Kirschenbaum.

An American documentary from 2010. You can stream or purchase the documentary from

The first documentary about Alzheimer’s disease filmed entirely in an Alzheimer’s unit and told from the perspective of an Alzheimer’s patient.

Drawn to family photographs scattered throughout her bedroom, Lee is unable to identify herself in the pictures. Combing through the items in her closet, she mistakes an everyday outfit for her wedding dress. Seeking answers elsewhere, Lee finds a birthday card but cannot recognize that she is the “Mom” to whom the card is addressed. Exasperated and missing her children, Lee embraces a make-believe family of stuffed animals. …Immersed in the confounding logic of Alzheimer’s, Lee’s story adheres to the discordant, but never fully crippling, rhythms of the disease. Here is one extraordinary woman who will not let us forget her even as she struggles to remember herself.

Youre Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Dont Dementia Film


Produced by: WXEL, South Florida Today.

You can see all 9 films (8-10 minutes each) on the WXEL blog. The first film is the video, below.

WXEL Dementia Film Alzheimers Advocates Remembering the Caregivers


Produced and Directed by: Kate Sturgess, Alistair Briggs.

“This is the story of five carers. Ordinary people, from very different backgrounds, who found themselves in the position of carer of a husband, wife, brother, sister, father or mother who has developed dementia. They talk about the desperate position they found themselves in – how their once certain life paths were turned upside down as they had to cope, often with little or no help, with being entirely responsible for the every need of their loved-ones who were increasingly unable to look after themselves. They talk of the sadness and frustration which accompanies this disease. Of the often erratic and unpredictable behaviour of the sufferers, of their guilt at rising feelings of resentment of their sadness as they watch a loved-one ‘disappear’ bit by bit. Of their fear of the future. And then they talk about finding SPECAL (Approach), who offered them a way to understand dementia in a way that allowed them to help the sufferer remain contented, despite what was happening to them and to understand how they, as carer could cope with the demands the situation placed on them.”

Understanding Dementia Film
You can read more about the short film series, purchase the DVD, find out about the Connected Dementia Trust, and the SPECAL method here.


Produced by: Gina Twyble.
Directed by: Kaye Harrison.

55 minute Australian documentary from 2010.

“The Long Goodbye” follows the journeys of three families living with dementia as they struggle to maintain the identity and dignity of those they love. Filmed over a three year period, the documentary celebrates the capacity of the human spirit to search for meaning and hope when the end is known and inescapable.

 The Long Goodbye Dementia Film


Directed by: Elizabeth Arledge.

Produced by: Elizabeth Arledge, Naomi S. Boak, Whitney Johnson.

An American documentary from 2004.

“The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s” is a Primetime Emmy award-winning documentary that takes a dramatic, compassionate, all-encompassing look at the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease. The cornerstone of the project is a 90-minute documentary based on David Shenk’s best-selling book. Like Shenk’s book, the documentary weaves together the history and biology of the disease, the intense real-world experiences of Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers, and the race to find a cure…

The Forgetting re-broadcast includes a new follow-up show The Future of Alzheimer’s with David Hyde Pierce. Pierce and a panel of Alzheimer’s experts will explain and contextualize the latest scientific findings, emphasize the importance in addressing and treating Alzheimer’s within ethnic and racial minorities, and discuss the future of Alzheimer’s research and treatment.

PBS The Forgetting A Portrait of Alzheimer's

“Alzheimer’s has mushroomed in just the last fifteen years from this relatively rare disorder to this extremely common phenomena because so many of us are living to the ages where the risks are so significant.”
-The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s

In both Spanish and English, you can watch the full documentary, and follow-up, as well as buy the DVD here.

“BOB AND NANCY:  Inside the emotions of Alzheimer’s”

From the University of Maryland School of Medicine

20 minute American documentary

The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is documented through its three stages from the perspective of the emotional journey of the patient. In commentary that becomes more halting as her disease progresses, Nancy shares her life, what still gives her pleasure and her loss. Actual day to day scenes from her life are integrated with a series of sessions in which Dr. Peter Rabins speaks with Nancy, exploring her emotions and revealing her response to Alzheimer’s disease and the impact it has on her life.

You can purchase the documentary on DVD for $50 from the UofM School of Medicine or through Amazon.


Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting Network. MPBN.

27 minutes, American documentary

Weaving interviews with health experts caring for Alzheimer’s patients with the personal experiences of Mainers who have suddenly found themselves dealing with the gradual, painful loss of a loved one, Caring for the Caregiver is designed for anyone who is now, or who may one day need to confront this difficult reality.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have a life changing impact on the patient and on those who care for them. This documentary examines the challenges facing these caregivers and explore the resources available to help them.

You can watch the full video here:


Produced by: CBC, The Nature of Things.

48 minute Canadian documentary from 2001

While most sufferers of Alzheimer’s are over 65, “Amanda’s Choice” looks at a rare form of the disease. As the story unfolds, 19 year old Amanda witnesses the rapid decline of her mother, Susan, who is only 39 years of age. Fearing she could meet the same fate within 15-20 years, Amanda faces the wrenching dilemma when offered a gene test that can conclusively determine her own destiny. New treatments and preventative measures are explored offering hope for Alzheimer’s patients in the future.

The film is very moving and suspenseful. Although touching on the impact of Alzheimer’s on the family, the true focus is genetic testing and how one processes the information it provides. Amanda is truly inspiring as she copes with the reality that she will eventually develop the disease that placed her mother in a nursing home in her forties.

Unfortunately, I could not find any trailer for this documentary or where it can be purchased.


Directed and Produced by: Sharon Bartlett and Maria LeRose.

A Canadian documentary from 2007, 75 minutes

“Beyond Memory: A Documentary About Dementia” is an intimate revelation of what it’s like to live with dementia, or to love someone with this disease. The five individuals and families profiled in the film offer an essential lesson about living each day. Elaine, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at just 47, works to keep her brain active, and becomes the first known Canadian with Alzheimer’s to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. A 1950s rhythm & blues star, 82-year-old Milton can’t remember the words to songs but can still show off the dance moves that first attracted his wife, Ruby. George gave up his job and moved home when his mother’s memory failed. He patiently reminds her of all the important details in her life, save one: Alberta’s forgotten she has Alzheimer’s. Gord, a former Revelstoke maintenance supervisor for CP Rail, works closely with his wife, Claudia, to make plans for his future. And, suffering from a rare and fast-moving form of dementia, 57-year-old Dede has pretty much had her memory wiped clean. Yet, when her husband, Gerry, enters the room, she smiles. Her connection to him has survived her memory.

You can purchase the DVD for $20 here.


Directed by: David Rosenthal.

26 minute American documentary from 2005

“Witnessing Death: A grandson’s reflections on Alzheimer’s” is a short video piece made by medical student David Rosenthal about the death of his grandfather, Kurt Rosenthal, from Alzheimer’s disease.

You can purchase the documentary for $20 from Amazon.


Produced and Directed by: Alan King.

1 hour and 52 minute Canadian film from 2005

In “Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company,” Allan King brings us close to the people who reside and work in a home for geriatric care in this beautifully conceived, powerful documentary. For four months, King follows the daily routines of eight patients suffering from dementia and memory loss; the result is searing, compassionate drama that can bring to the viewer a greater understanding of his or her loved ones.

If you are living in the US, you can watch the full film here, on Hulu.


Directed and Produced by: Glenn Orkin and Carol Edwards.
Narrated by: Edward Herrmann.

56 minute documentary from 2009

“Alzheimer’s Disease: Facing the Facts” examines the personal and societal implications of the illness, and the latest research. Through profiles of families living with Alzheimer’s and interviews with doctors and investigators on the front lines, the documentary shows how this overlooked disease threatens to crush America’s health care system, and spirit.


2 thoughts on “Dementia films and documentaries

Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s