AARP Sponsors Cross-Country Doc on Alzheimer’s

The AARP has sponsored documentary filmmakers Zach Jordan and Peter Schankowitz to embark on a cross-country road trip this month to document stories of Alzheimer’s patients.

Titled “My Alzheimer’s Road Trip,” the venture goes from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and will include eight stops in U.S. cities, where they will interview and conduct a video library for those affected by the brain disease.

Jordan, who is also affected by the disease, said in an interview with the AARP Bulletin, “People will have this giant resource in front of them that they can tap into, and the more stories that we collect, the more powerful the library becomes.”

“The first step for us was to be able to tell my story,” Jordan said. “Once that foundation was laid, then we could really get to work on doing the most fulfilling part of this; interviewing all these different types of people, sitting down with them, and giving them a voice.”

The filmmakers connected with AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), a repository of information on maintaining cognitive health, and geriatric physician Jason Karlawish, a member of the GCBH’s governance committee, to help find applications for their work.

“Think of [the] story as the missing link of data,” Jordan said.

Kalawish first asks families to describe a typical day for the patient, which lays down the foundation of their individual stories and provides an understanding of that individual’s life and care.

The filmmakers hope that brain health will be a topic discussed by the next presidential candidates. By illustrating these journeys across America, they aim to provide diverse perspectives and voices for the disease.

“It’s really important for us, especially for the caregiver and patient stories, to give them a platform to be able to show that the family experience in Austin and Phoenix is very different than the family experiences that are happening in Johnson City, Tenn., or Louisville, Ky.,” Jordan said.

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