Having an illness is often a very traumatic experience and being a caretaker of someone in this position can be difficult and emotion-inducing. In these instances, it becomes really important to see depictions of a slice of life for people with illnesses and how that affects their lives and the loved ones, in cinema. Below, I have compiled a list of recent films that shine a light on illnesses in ways that are raw, real, emotional and enlightening.
Still Alice is a touching film about a renowned linguistic professor, Alice Howland, who has been diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and her journey with the loss of her once beloved words. Alice is not alone in her struggle however, her family– three grown children and her husband– help her through heartache and remind her that she has their help the whole way. It is an exemplary tale of dealing with Alzheimer’s and how caregivers could help with support and love.
The Fault in our stars is a book-to-movie drama centered around teens,Hazel and Augustus. Hazel has cancer and Augustus has a prosthetic leg. Through their illnesses they find strength and love in each other. It’s a heart-warming movie that accurately depicts what it is like to live with these conditions and what it takes to get through life on a daily basis.
Charlie Fineman, the main character, suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after losing his family in the 9/11 attack. He quits everything and recedes into himself. His old college friend, Johnson,comes into his life by chance, and through friendship and determination, and recruitment of a therapist, Johnson helps Charlie come out of seclusion and into some semblance of happiness.
Pat Solitano, the main character, is ordered to move back with parents after a past incident and is diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. Pat tries to deal with his disorder, and the audience is privy to the effects of the disease. Pat also ends up in a strange relationship with Tiffany, who also suffers from depression. Together, they look for happiness and a place to feel less weighed down from their conditions and diseases.
A married couple are faced with many challenges in their decision-making when it comes to providing a new, better life, while also caring for a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.
The story is one about unconditional love. A terminally ill father helps his autistic son learn the necessities for life on his own. It is a movie that gives tribute to the love parents show to their children and how they are willing to give them support and guidance, no matter the circumstance.
This film is a real-life account of a journalist who was left paralyzed in all parts of body but his left eye, after experiencing a massive stroke. Besides having Locked-in Syndrome, he is also non-verbal. Through this,his ex-lover, new-lover/mother of his children, and family, all come together to help him with his illness. It’s a film that explains the inner thoughts of those with the condition and how family can help their loved one through hardship.
50/50 takes a different approach to cancer by taking a comedic and offbeat approach to dealing with the disease. Adam, the main character, with the help of his best friend, mother and therapist, finds out what really means the most to him in his short time left of life.
Though the story is not new, what saves this film is the acting. It follows the life of Marissa, the mother of her ill-son, who has leukemia. In her search to find a match for Jack’s surgery, she finds love and happiness in an unexpected way.
Though there are sometimes moments of doubt and uncertainty in caretaking, seeing depictions of this in films is a great way to learn more about the diseases or conditions, bring attention to people in these situations and offer some support, guidance, and understanding to those who need it. It is a piece of Hollywood that says: you are not alone.
Crafting and Diy projects are a fun way to get your patient or loved one active, while also promoting creativity and expression. Taking note of crafts that are easy to execute, yet interesting, and appealing to all, I have included some of the ones I liked most in this post!
Arm Knitting would be perfect for caregivers who are dealing with loved ones or patients that have slower mobility skills and might not be able to wield the tools for traditional knitting. It’s an easy way to get them back into their passion (or a great way to get someone started) and best of all, it’s a wonderful way to spend 15-30 minutes of the day making something tangible that they can be proud of.
These crowns and hats made of toilet paper rolls are just so adorable. They’re easy to construct and they can make playing dress-up with your child even more special.
Most kids enjoy having a playhouse, but have you ever heard of making a play-castle using only cardboard boxes and Washi tape? It’s really that simple. You can use everyday cardboard boxes to make the castle outline and let the kids go wild with Washi Tape to create designs.
Tie Dye paper looks amazing, and it’s a plus that it’s super easy to make. The supplies needed for this project are minimal and you might even be able to find them around the house! Not to mention, after making the paper, you can draw on it!
Art is good way to express yourself and get creative. So why not try this fun experiment? It’s relatively mess free, great for all ages and lists easier alternative methods to get to the finished product. When you’re done, you could even frame it and hang it on a wall!
If fashion is your thing, but don’t want it to be too complicated to make, take a look at this blanket-turned-sweater wrap tutorial. You can get crafty and repurpose an old item by making it into something fashionable, all without sewing! Wonderful for people who have limited mobility.
This would be a great project for caregivers with loved one or patients with memory issues. The thumbprint serves as a piece of art and a reminder of one’s self!
A constellation jar is a lovely idea for space-enthusiats and those who often find themselves looking up at the nightsky. It’s great as a night light and could even help with identifying constellations! Made with minimal materials, this project is great for any day.
Trying to keep memories alive is really important when it comes to mental health and stability. So, creating magnets using beloved pictures is a delightful way to maintain them, while also using imagination and innovation. They are done in minutes and are a great keepsake!
Going green is a good idea for everyone, which makes it a perfect opportunity to create! This bag is not only a fun craft project, but it has many uses, including it being a produce bag. It requires a bit of sewing,it’s super practical and will last quite a well!
This craft project is warm, comfy and full of memories. A quilt made of t-shirts is a great way to collect memories and share them with others!
Currently 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism or fall somewhere on the spectrum. As this number grows, it essential that people who care for persons with the disorder have support, guidance, and helpful information to turn to in times of need. As we are quickly approaching April, National Autism Awareness Month, it is important to highlight resources to help caregivers, both family and professional. Check them out below.
1. Autism Action
Autism Action’s mission is to better the lives of people who fall on the Autism Spectrum. They strive to improve the quality of persons with ADS through education, support and providing high-quality resources to the community.
2. Autism Now
Autism NOW is an amazing resource that focuses on providing the best comprehensive information for individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), which includes: education, health care info, aging issues and caregiver and family support.
Anyone who considers themselves a caregiver, in any sense of the word, should read this book. It serves as a guide with a wealth of information that is both helpful, supportive and enlightening. It brings a light-hearted openness to the experiences of parents with children who fall on the Autism Disorder Spectrum.
The PRT Pocket Guide is a wonderful resource for parents, educators, teachers, social workers, and others who care for those with ADS. It offers a clear view of the condition and how caregivers can better understand, using real-life experiences from various people in these positions.
This is the second edition of Overcoming Autism by clinician Lynn Kern Koegel and writer Claire LaZebnik, who gather useful tips and information on the disorder, while taking you through the process of caring for people with ADS through a nurturing and knowledgeable lens.
6. Autism Family Online
Autism Family Online understands the challenges that families face dealing with those on the Autism Disorder Spectrum. For this reason, they offer many programs to fulfill the needs of caregivers and give them necessary tools and skills to navigate dealing with the disorder.
7.National Autism Network
National Austism Network is one of the largest online resources for people in the autism community. It provides a space to connect, learn about news, articles, events and other resources to deal with ADS.
8. Autism Speaks
Austism Speaks is a resource that offers critical research and support for caregivers. Their mission is to make strides to understand the disease and give a voice to caregivers.
9. Autism Community
Autism Community focuses on shedding light on many topics that encourage communication within the community, provide education, and resources for caregivers.
10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC works tirelessly to understand and combat diseases, while also providing support and information to its community and citizens. This is the go-to spot to find up-to-date information, news and extensive research on ADS.
The Caregiver Space is here to support caregivers, but we’re not the only organization that’s here to help! These are resources our community has found helpful. Please note that this isn’t an official endorsement and we’re not affiliated with these organizations.
Is there an organization or resource that’s helped you that isn’t on the list? Let us know.