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“Still Alice” — What Lisa Genova’s Acclaimed Novel (and now a Major Motion Picture Adaptation) is Doing to Help the Masses Learn About Alzheimer’s

What is “Still Alice” and who is Lisa Genova?

Whether at the grocery store, a bible study gathering or a dinner party, “Still Alice” has probably come up at least once in the past few years. Lisa Genova’s freshman novel about Alice Howland, a fictional character who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, was on the New York Times Best Sellers list for more than 40 weeks (according to Lisa’s Wikipedia page). (Purchase the book on Amazon.com here.) In January 2015, it was released as a major motion picture staring Julianne Moore who received an Academy Award Nomination for her role as Alice. Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a positive 90% on the Tomatometer.

While the story of Alice Howland is fictional, the disease is very much real. Lisa Genova has her PhD in neuroscience and has since published other works about brain illness. Listen to her discuss how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in her interview with PBS News Hour’s Jeffrey Brown.

So why is “Still Alice” getting so much attention?

It all has to do with the subject matter. Alz.org defines Alzheimer’s as “...a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.” While this disease’s name is well-known, there is quite a bit of information left to discover. What makes it so frightening is how aggressively this disease is growing. Last year, Alz.org published a shocking, informational video that calls attention to some very interesting facts and figures. For example, did you know that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States with more than 5,000,000 Americans living with the disease? Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease and almost 2/3 of diagnosed patients are women.

While there is still much to learn about this cognitive brain illness, there have been major developments in what activities are helping diagnosed patients. 

The first step is to start spreading the word. Talk to your neighbor, friend, mailman, etc. The more we talk about this disease that is affecting so many, the more we will learn to better prepare ourselves to fight. Currently, our nation’s caregivers are graciously helping these patients through this tough time, but this help often results in stress and fatigue. Read our blog from last week to discover more about caregiving.

The second order of business is to understand which available option best suits your needs. Gone are the days when our loved ones would move out of their childhood home directly into a nursing home and twiddle their thumbs day-in and day-out. Today, we have many care choices available for varying levels of required assistance. Whether you are an at-home caregiver looking for a short-term break or a family member looking for a permanent residence in a memory care community, Bethesda Senior Living Communities can help! With mandatory continued education, we have made it our business to stay on top of new developments and practices. Contact your local community today for more information about how we can help.

Alzheimer’s deserves our attention. Let’s learn together and help each other through this difficult disease.