Analysis of the Key Concepts of the Film "Still Alice"

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Alzheimers Disease International (2016) reported that there are 47 million people who are suffering from dementia. In 2050 it is predicted that it will increase by 131 million. This essay is regarding critically analyse the key concepts of the film “Still Alice”. It will talk about three key concepts: Grief, Caring for people with dementia, social awareness of dementia and its impact on the society. In addition it will show how narrative theory can point out self-evaluation and show how will narratives signify the improvement of the patient’s health.

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Dementia Australia (2018) reported that there are three stages of dementia the first is the early stage of dementia which the start of the symptoms are progressing slowly and it is difficult to point out on how the symptoms began. In the middle stage, a person’s complexity is clearly visible and it affects the family or other people and in this stage person’s with dementia may need support in everyday activity. Lastly, the late stage of dementia the person is extremely affected by dementia and required constant care in everyday living. In the movie, Glatzer, Richard, (1952-2015), film director, Still Alice shows all of the stages have been featured. At the early stage of dementia in the movie, Alice demonstrate forgetfulness of a word during her talk in the University, during Christmas time she introduced herself to the girlfriend of her son and after a while she repeated it again during dinner time, and she even forgot where she is while having a jog in the campus. In the middle stage of her dementia, Alice shows more symptoms like she can’t remember where the bathroom is and she urinated in her pants. She had a big argument with her daughter because she reads her journal and in the next day, Alice remembers that she had an argument with her daughter but she forgot what’s the reason, She always remember past events rather than the recent events. In the late stage of dementia, Alice started to regress gradually by forgetting the name of her daughter, her husband help him to dress up, she forgot that her other daughter will be having a twin baby, she asked why her daughter is in the hospital and then she needs to have help in carrying her grandchildren. And she’s developing speech impairment.

Furthermore, at the start of her dementia, she was able to cope up with her symptoms and find a way on how to manage it and seeing a neurologist and takes a lot of tests. But her dementia is rapidly progressing. Alice career as a professor throughout her life, speaking and writing is her passion, now she is facing a life-changing dilemma because of her dementia. she started to lose hope, she even thinks to have suicide because she wants to have a dignity to her self. And she even visited aged care facility. Alice, in the end, she never gives up on her disease and she accepted to live with it. In relation to this the family members have different approach on how to cope up with Alice dementia, John, her husband on her early stage of having a dementia he is very supportive and promise that he will be on her side always, but when her dementia is rapidly progressing he suddenly changes and pass the obligation to the others, even Alice demanded her husband to spend a year off, but still he continues to move to another place for his job. Lydia her younger daughter is different she is well connected to Alice, she is more emotionally attached, at the end Lydia is the one who accepts the responsibility to take care of Alice. Anna the oldest daughter wants to maintain her own life but yet she inherits the genes from her mother but she didn’t show that she is affected by the situation. Tom the only son, who is studying Medicine, he knows the illness of her mother and knows the suffering and it affects him.

Alice in her journey in suffering dementia she shows a strong commitment that she stay focus and continued her life. Her story makes me really uncomfortable, the reasons that how can you live every day of your life if you couldn’t remember the things you know before.

Seeing her strong makes me wonder is that the way she handles the situation. Another narrative when her dementia is progressing she and her family starting suffering from grief. Renee Pepin discussed the theoretical model of dementia grief so that it can understand the type of grief and its process, and it consist of three stages: separation, liminality, re-emergence. Accepting loss is the one of the reasons why separation comes forward into a liminal stage that confronts with ambiguity and difficult feelings. Negative emotions allow caregivers to experience the state of re-emergence and makes the behaviour adapts to a new reality. And accomplish a new life situation. Adaptation is the goal of grief that signals the resolution of dementia grief until death. Another aspect is that how to care for the people who have dementia it would have been a lot of patience. A person who was dementia is the center of all actions and decision. The main focus is only the person together with the diagnosis, symptoms and physical function. The interventions are direct in promoting and maintaining comfort, respect, dignity and sense of wellness. A carer must identify emotional needs and preference. In addition to this a carer must have a good self-concept to be able to to function well in dealing with others. Carer must develop cognitive flexibility in a broad perspective, has a strong social support so that they can develop trust, a good self-esteem and self-worth. The one who has a strong sense of compassion, to self and to others. A Carer should develop a positive outlook in life so that difficulties may change into fun and humour. And must possess an active coping style so that solving problems would be easy.

The role of the society towards dementia can make a change to our community,the low level of awareness of dementia is usually becoming a problem the and the government must put more effort in giving information about dementia. The impact of lack of understanding of dementia leads to a great perception of the disease as a result the general public develops a fear of developing dementia. So as a result we should have an awareness campaign to reduce the stigma of dementia. Therefore people have an obligation to promote dementia and Government agencies support and develop a sustainable program to improve quality of life.

In relation with this as a future nurse I would be able to reflect on the things I needed most, the core values that I learn all throughout studying this course is that the importance of palliative care in the topic because you would be able to know the things you would do to the client is to optimise the quality of life, Therapeutic Communication is also important because it gives importance to the patient-client relationship while having an interview, giving care to client. Health teaching as a healthcare provider is important because so that you can empower people, family and the community. In the movie Still Alice, It shows how important to asses my personal feelings as a future health care provider, does it affects me as a person? It helps me a lot on how to do better better narratives in the future, having self-actualization and putting my self in the movie. I don’t know how to react a lot of learning and a lot of confusion but I’m now more aware of my feelings in dealing such a movie like this.

This essay has identified the three factors in the movie such as grief, caring to the person who has dementia and its significance. I have presented the progress of dementia and its stages regarding the experiences of Alice from the start of her dementia until to the late stage. I have identified the narrative theories in the movie and shown the resilience of the character in the movie. And learn the narratives to express our own self-concept and how it will help in the improvement of patients’ outcome by giving health teachings, give palliative care to promote good health.

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