Sunday 21 September 2014

World Alzheimer's Day & a Tribute to "La Girardot"

World Alzheimer's Day, September 21st of each year, is a day on which Alzheimer's organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's and dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning. (...) Alzheimer's disease is often called a family disease, because the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone (literally via).

According to a study carried out in the US, the majority of Alzheimer caregivers work full or part time. Compared to other caregivers, the demands of caregiving have a more negative impact on their responsibilities at work. Expressed in figures, about 66% of working Alzheimer caregivers report that they miss work due to their caregiving responsibilities, 14% have given up work or chosen early retirement, 13% have cut back on their work hours or taken a less demanding job, 8% have turned down a promotion, and 7% have lost job benefits. Balancing caregiving with job performance seems to be very difficult (Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

Caregiving also takes a large personal toll on the dementia caregiver and her/his family: 55% have less time for other family members; 49% give up vacations, hobbies or social activities; 30% get less exercise than before. Over 40% report high levels of emotional stress. One in five dementia caregivers is in fair or poor health and 18% say that caregiving has made their health worse (literally taken from Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

These caregivers are not only taking on enormous responsibility at great personal cost, they are doing it without the help and support they need. While many caregivers get help from other family members, only about half use any paid help or supportive services. Three out of four Alzheimer caregivers have unmet needs. One in three say they need time for themselves, help in balancing work and family responsibilities, and help in managing stress, but only 9% use respite services and only 11% participate in support groups (literally taken from Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving, 2004).

Former model and MTV moderator Sophie Rosentreter lost her grandmother Ilse Bischof in 2009 after nine years of living with Alzheimer's. In these years, Sophie Rosentreter learned to accept her grandmother's disease and to find a way to get through to her, to communicate with her. As she could not get through to her with words, she used music and photographs. That way they managed to stay close to each other. Rosentreter noticed that televisions played a central role in the daily life of residents of care homes. At the same time those suffering from Alzheimer's did not pay much attention since they could not follow the programmes. With a few exceptions. Landscapes, for instance, were remembered more easily; so were the words presented with them (a combination that is seen in a great many commercials). Rosentreter decided to make films for people with Alzheimer's - combining nature with classical music (via). Films for a very specific audience.

French actress Annie Girardot (1931-2011) won the César Award and the Molière Award more than once, won the Prix Suzanne Biachnetti, the David di Donatello Award, the Volpi Cup, was a BAFTA nominee, and in the 1970s became both the highest paid actress and a symbol of feminist movement in France. In 2012, a street in Paris was named after her and France's Postal Service issued a stamp dedicated to her. She is still the highest ranked woman in the list of French stars.
In 2006, it was published that "La Girardot" was suffering from Alzheimer's disease (via).

- Alzheimer's Association and National Alliance for Caregiving (2004) Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's: 2004 National Survey; via
- photos of Annie Girardot via and via and via and via and via and via


  1. Replies
    1. A wonderful good morning, Karen. A brilliant woman, absolutely! Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

  2. She was a true inspiration, she truly was.

    1. Yes, she was really special. I'm a big fan ... but I suppose my tribute might have told you that ;-)
      Thanks a lot for commenting, Kenneth.

  3. Her face never changed, it went just slighly more mature with the years. She's beautiful.

  4. Stopping at your blog is always a treat!

    1. That is so kind and sweet of you. Thank you so much, Frans.