'Much Too Young' Documentary - A Film Review
This stunning documentary follows the lives of four families over a two year period who are experiencing young onset Alzheimer's with a loved one. Although each family’s experience is unique, they all have one thing in common, young adult caregivers. Even the title of this documentary perfectly describes the impossible to imagine situation that these four families are facing. Not only are these young adult caregivers much too young to be thrust into a role of caring for a parent; but the parents in turn are much too young for this role reversal as well. The film takes a close and intimate look at this disease and how it affects both the person diagnosed with dementia and those who love and care for them. They highlight the trials and tribulations that these young caregivers are facing as a result of this role they have been given at such a young age.
At the beginning of the film, young caregiver, Kathryn describes the idea of being a caregiver as impossible. As the film takes shape it becomes a great testament to the human spirit and to Kathryn in particular, that shows how much we are capable of when it comes to caring for a loved one. Even seemingly impossible tasks become possible when you truly care about someone.
Considerably the most intimate and honest segment in the documentary shows Kathryn and Patricia (her mother) as they go through her night time routine. You can see the patience Kathryn has as a caregiver as she assists her mom in the bathroom and with the process of getting ready for bed. Kathryn manages to stay calm and collected as they struggle to accomplish this task together but the toll it takes on her is seen when she has a moment to herself afterword, unable to continue to keep her emotions in.
Moira's story is told primarily by her daughter Kathleen who talks about the losses she feels as a result of her mother's diagnosis. She, like many others in the film, speaks about how difficult it is to feel that she is missing out on certain life moments with her mom or that they may be altered as a result of the disease, in comparison to their peers who are not experiencing these loses. As a young adult it is difficult to imaging not having your parent be able to give you advice on navigating life's big moments as well as hardships. This is something all the young caregivers in this documentary are having to come to terms with.
Chris, another young caregiver in the film also discusses how different his life is in comparison to his peers as a result of being a young caregiver to his father Peter. He talks about how this has effected his aspirations in terms of his education, and how he struggles to find the balance of being there for his dad but also spend the time required to succeed in his education. He highlights how alone young caregivers feel as their experience is so unique to both older caregivers and peers who are not in this caregiving role.
The fourth and final family is Francois, who is living with Frontal Temporal Dementia, his wife Gloria, and their 13 year old daughter Aurelia. This story is quite different from the rest seeing as his daughter is so young. Aurelia can be seen in an interview trying to describe how her mom explained her father's disease to her, trying to make sense of it at such a young age. She was told it was like a lamp, and sometimes a wire gets blocked which causes the light not to work as well. As their story takes place, it is clear to see the struggle each member of the family is dealing with as a result of their new roles. Aurelia being so young, finding it difficult not to have her father seem like the man she has always known, not knowing how to understand the disconnect that they feel. Gloria trying to take care of both her daughter and husband. And Francois, still at an early stage of the disease, feeling that he is not as good of a father now that his disease has progressed.
This film is a must-see to understand the plights and joys that young caregivers experience. It is honest and heartwarming to watch these families as they navigate unchartered waters, foreign to them prior to being introduced to this illness. Viewers both young and old can commend the bravery of these families for sharing their stories and the ups and downs of their caregiving experience. The directors, Christopher Wynn and Russell Gienapp do a wonderful job of shedding light on young-onset Alzheimer's and how it effects not only the person diagnosed with this disease but also their families at such a young age.
To view this documentary visit: www.muchtooyoung.com