The public is invited to a free screening of STILL ALICE at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theater on Thursday, June 18 (6 – 8:30 p.m.). The film will be followed by a community dialogue – featuring a panel of local aging experts – on the topic of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The event is being held in connection with AARP’s I Heart Caregivers initiative, which recognizes and supports the 247,000 Hawaii residents who care for older parents, spouses and others to help them live independently at home – where they want to be.
STILL ALICE stars Julianne Moore in her Academy Award-winning portrayal of Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor. When the mother of three grown children receives a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she was is frightening, heartbreaking and inspiring.
AARP Hawaii is hosting the screening to help spark community discussion about the resources and supports needed to help residents afflicted with physical and cognitive decline, and let caregivers and their families know that they aren’t alone. Each year in Hawaii, more than a quarter million family caregivers collectively provide unpaid care valued at nearly $2 billion.
According to the state Executive Office on Aging, the prevalence of age-related illness in Hawaii, including Alzheimer’s disease, is expected to increase. The Alzheimer’s Association has projected that by 2025 about 34,000 – or 10 percent of Hawaii residents age 65 and older – will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Given the high cost of caring for patients with dementia, unpaid caregivers assume much of the responsibility of caring for afflicted friends and loved ones.
In an ongoing effort to support Hawaii’s caregivers and the family members they help, AARP is collecting the personal stories of caregivers and posting them to the I Heart Caregivers website. Families are encouraged to add the story of a caregiver they know to the growing list of Hawaii’s unsung heroes.