Free movie and discussion to center on Alzheimer's disease

After 44 years of marriage, most couples know each other fairly well. But when Alzheimer's enters the relationship, those bonds are tested.

Pierce County's Aging & Disability Resources program will host a free showing of "Away From Her," a film starring Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent and Olympia Dukakis at Tacoma's Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett in Tacoma on Tuesday, April 3 at 10 a.m.

"Away From Her" is a movie about Alzheimer's disease and its effects on a long-married couple. The film deals with very strong emotions that any caregiver can relate to - devotion of a spouse, anger over the disease, guilt about the past.

Complimentary respite care will be provided by Cascade Park Active Day. People who want free respite for their loved ones during the showing of the film should call by March 28 at (253) 627-9990.

Lewis Thomas has called Alzheimer's "the disease of the century . . . the worst of all diseases, not just for what it does to the patient, but for its devastating effects on family and friends." Alzheimer's sufferers unlearn even the simplest skills. The disease is always fatal.

Following the film join an informal discussion about Alzheimer's and its impact on spouses, families and relationships. In addition to several special panelists, providers will have information tables about resources and services for caregivers in Pierce County. Families, caregivers, friends and professionals will benefit from this special opportunity to see and hear about the many dimensions of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Pierce County's Department of Community Connections provides Memory Care and Wellness Services, a research study that offers dementia day service two days a week for the individual with Alzheimer's or other dementia while the family caregiver gets time for his/her own needs. New participants are being accepted.

For more information, call the Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600.

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