Real Life Wins An Oscar With Dementia Awareness

Dementia on the big screen with Still Alice

The 2015 Oscars will be remembered for bringing early onset dementia to the big screen & helping creating awareness. The Alzheimer’s Association® helped to bring the book “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova, into theaters by providing expert advice about the disease to its filmmakers.

The movie tells the real-life story of a Alice, played by (Oscar Award Winning) Julianne Moore, coping with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the character brought to light a touch of Hollywood glamor, the reality is that it gave one of the most realistic views of a disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

FAQ’s About Early Onset Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Q. “The doctor said my mother has early onset dementia but never used the term Alzheimer’s. Does this mean she also has Alzheimer’s Disease?”

A. Dementia is a symptom of many medical problems, the most common being Alzheimer’s. You can have dementia without having Alzheimer’s but if you have Alzheimer’s you have dementia. Speak with your physician to confirm if they have tested & verified your mother has Alzheimer’s disease.

Q. How young can you be to be affected by early onset dementia?

A. Technically the term younger onset dementia or early onset dementia means being diagnosed with dementia before the age of 65. However, early onset dementia has been found in people their 40’s & 50’s with the youngest documented case being 27 years old (which is extremely rare).

Q. How do you care for someone who has early onset dementia?

A. We truly are learning as we go as to what works best with dementia patients. It is very helpful to not only gather as much knowledge as you can about dementia; but to also find professional caregivers who have dealt with younger onset dementia and are trained specifically on how to work with them while allowing them to have quality of life.

Q. My wife has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. Is there a cure?

A. “As one of the top 10 causes of death, this is the only cause that has no means of being cured, prevented, or even slowed down,” says Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer at The Alzheimer’s Association.®


Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard about caring for a loved one who is affected with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease is to treat them on an individual basis; each person is unique and should be treated as such. Having someone to relieve you of caregiving is imperative, especially if you are the sole provider for care and help.

Most of all realize that there are many places to turn for help and information. The Alzheimer’s Association® provides a very useful brochure that gives some valuable information regarding younger onset dementia. Contacting a professional in-home caregiving provider as soon as possible can help you from getting caregiver burn out; while also providing a professional set of eyes to notice subtle changes in behavior that can help take care of their symptoms.

Photo by ChristophLacroix