'Alive', not inside The Lake but inside your home

Conscious Aging

Opinion: Columns

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Marc Blesoff

Over the past five years, there has been much effective organizing and consciousness-raising around older people with dementia and their caregivers. Locally, River Forest has been designated a dementia-friendly village and Oak Park is working toward that designation as well. The local Township Senior Services hosts the very successful Memory Café every month.

One factor for whatever increased awareness and decreased stigmatization exists regarding dementia patients is the breakthrough 2014 documentary film titled Alive Inside.

Part of the film follows social worker Dan Cohen as he researches, compiles and produces personalized music playlists for older dementia patients and delivers them loaded onto individualized iPods.

Directed/written/produced by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, Alive Inside features captivating footage of previously uncommunicative dementia patients virtually "waking up" onscreen, right before your eyes. Mr. Rossato-Bennett will join us for a Q&A and audience conversation following the film via the Zoom platform.

Not only can this event reach people who, for one reason or another, were unable to attend the Lake Theatre location, not only is this screening free, but we get to hang out with the person who made the movie. How special is that?!

Another thread in the film is the commentary by Dr. Bill Thomas about some of the weaknesses in our medical approach to understanding and treating dementia. This is the same Bill Thomas who brought his Changing Aging Tour to Oak Park two years ago.

The Wabi Sabi Film Festival was scheduled to screen Alive Inside at the Lake Theatre last month. That event had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 virus. Now the Wabi Sabi Film Festival is offering a free digital screening, as a COVID-19 gift to the community, on Friday, June 19 at 10 a.m.

You may obtain your free tickets online via EventBrite using this link: 

wabi-sabi-alive-inside.eventbrite.com. Just click on the link and then create/sign-in to a free EventBrite account in order to receive the Zoom log-in information.

Wednesday Journal and A Tribe Called Aging founded the Wabi Sabi Film Festival last year as a quarterly film series encouraging everyone to embrace and respect our aging population and the transformation of society.

The COVID-19 virus has forced this adjustment to a digital screening. We don't know when the Lake Theatre will re-open, and we don't know when the Wabi Sabi Film Festival will resume in-theater presentations. But we do know that we support Classic Cinemas, an important and longtime member of our area community.

I look forward to joining you on June 19 to watch the outstanding documentary Alive Inside. Although the popcorn is no longer free, the cost of admission is.

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