Whenever I come across realistic, compassionate depictions of the dementia experience I like to share them here. Paul Romero Mendez, the filmmaker behind a short film named “Ruth” reached out to me recently. His moving film was released in 2021. The film depicts a woman with dementia who is lost in her own home. Highlighting this experience is very important, because while remaining in the family home can offer those with dementia the comfort of familiarity, the disease may strip away the very memories that makes the home feel meaningful and safe.
Many of us who have had cared for loved ones with dementia have had to confront the dreaded request to “go home.” But home may not be what you think. If your loved one is in a memory care center, maybe it is their last home, but it could be their childhood home. Time doesn’t necessarily move in a linear fashion for those with dementia. One minute they may be back in their childhood, the next a young adult, and the next to the current time. My father often asked to go home when he was in the memory care center, but he also talked about going home to Northern Ireland to be with his sisters. So I don’t believe home was the condo in Ruidoso where my parents retired. Home may not be a fixed place in the way we think of it, but a feeling of love and contentment.
The film was shot in a single take, so the audience can understand better the swirling cloud of confusion that those with dementia may contend with on a daily basis. It’s a powerful depiction, filmed with compassion. You can watch the film below. (This is a different short film from the one I posted about in January, which is also called Ruth.)
Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash.