Feature documentary film, “Do You Know What My Name Is?” produced by Sendai Television Inc., has been released simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles. The film depicts an emotional real life drama of how a “dementia improvement program” was implemented in Ohio. This program, which was developed through brain science research in Japan, helped patients on the verge of losing their will to live to reconnect with their families. The film received numerous recognitions including the “Audience Favorite International Film” at the “American Documentary Film Festival” held in Palm Springs, the “Award of Merit” at the “Berlin International film Awards”, and the “Honorable Mention” at the “Los Angeles Movie Awards”.
According to David DeWitt, a New York Times movie reviewer, the documentary “Do You Know What My Name Is?” introduces us to people with forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s. It’s a condition that frightens many of us, because we’re worried that we’ll have it or will care for someone who has it, or because we’ve had experience with it. Films like “Away From Her” and the current release “Still Alice” meaningfully illustrate the challenges of the diagnosis. The filmmakers are out to convince us that a treatment developed in Japan can help, with its focus on sessions for reading, writing and performing computational tasks. The therapy and its results, as reported here in scenes at the Eliza Jennings home in Cleveland, offer hope.
So much for the professional movie reviewers. GRAND Magazine wanted to know what others thought of this documentary, so we solicited comments from two women who saw the film. The first was Meg Newhouse. She reported, “Although the audience was small at this time, at the end of the movie, when the credits were scrolled, one woman stood up and excitedly said, “NOW THAT WAS A FANTASTIC MOVIE!”.
According to another movie goer, Vicki Thomas of Purple Heart Homes, “The film was especially meaningful to me personally, as I had just returned from Austin, Texas where I spent time with my mother (92 years young) who currently is living in an assisted living facility. She has been diagnosed with “dementia” and the technique illustrated in this film is one that I would want my own mother to experience. Watch this beautifully told story about the rediscovery of lost family members that suffer from Alzheimer’s. The transformation after six-months with “learners’ and “supporters’ was amazing. The award for best actor – must go to John Roadaman. The best actress award goes to Evelyn Weisberg. The supporting actress – Mae Williams truly came out of her shell.”
“I hope “Do You Remember My Name” wins many more awards and the concept is incorporated at every nursing home/CCRC throughout the US — for it offers families ‘hope’ in a time of great despair. As my 92 year-old mom starts to reveal some signs — I am grateful to know
what I can personally do to help her with her fine tune her short term memory.” Exuded, Ms. Thomas.
Lastly, we hear from a young man who works in a nursing home: “Do you know what my name is?” For a year now, asking this question has been my daily task. The people I ask: women who have three times the life experience as I do.
My name is John. I work at nursing home for the elderly in Ohio, where I have been for the past year. With an average age of 80, the residents here spend twilight years in quiet comfort, many living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Still without a cure, Alzheimer’s disease robs its victims of their memory, their pride, and at times even their will to live. But what if simple reading, writing and calculating could counteract some of the effects of this disease?
For example, Evelyn, 94, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two-years ago. At first she could not write her own name, and had difficulty communicating, but four months into the therapy program, she has rediscovered her interest in knitting.
This documentary pursues the answers to what it means to live a happy life, and what may be considered a truly happy conclusion to that life.