May is National Mental Health Month

MAY Natl Mental Health Month

According to the National Allliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans has a mental health issue and one in 25 Americans has a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major clinical depression.

Because of the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding mental illness, Glenn Close, whose sister and nephew are challenged by mental health issues, founded Bring Change 2 Mind, to help educate the public on mental illness.

Source: Dreamstime

Source: Dreamstime

In recognition of May National Mental Health Month, read our CEO Sherri Snelling’s article about how Glenn Close is one of the leading voices in helping to change our minds about mental health and support the family caregivers caring for those with mental illness:

Glenn Close wants to change your mind about mental illness

Is Your Depression Situational or Serious?

 

Glenn Close Wants to Change Your Mind About Mental Illness

All caregiving can be exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming and stressful but for the caregivers of those with a mental health issue the societal stigma you face creates additional challenges.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental disorder and the average age is 14 for the on-set of mental illness.  NAMI is leading the national awareness campaign —  the National Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 6-12 —  first established by the U.S. Congress in 1990. The campaign also includes National Depression Screening Day on October 10.

Shining a Spotlight on Mental Illness

Glenn Close dreamstime_m_20156298 (2)Oscar-nominated and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Glenn Close wants to help lift the veil of mental illness to reveal the myths and eliminate the shame associated with bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues through a national public service campaign.

Glenn has become a champion who is shedding light on the dark world of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia which affects her sister and her nephew respectively.  Appearing on the TV morning show, Good Morning America, Glenn said, “I believe we need to be having discussions around mental illness and talk as openly as we do about other diseases such as cancer or diabetes.”

Starring alongside her sister, Glenn launched a public service announcement (PSA) campaign on mental health issues created by BringChange2Mind, the nonprofit organization Glenn helped found to eliminate the discrimination felt by those with mental illness and their family caregiver.  Her hope is increased awareness will get more people to seek help.

Caregiver Depression a Slippery Slope

In a study of caregiver health risks, the National Alliance for Caregiving reported 91 percent of those caregivers whose health was in decline reported suffering from depression over caring for a loved one.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in May of this year deaths from suicides since 2009 had surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the U.S.  The report also found the increase in suicides were most significant among the baby boomers – for men age 50-59 years old an increase of 47-49 percent and for women age 60-64 an increase of 59.7 percent. One potential cause cited for this increase was caring for an older, ailing parent.

We also know that for those 15 million Americans caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, the risk of becoming isolated from friends, other family and life’s typical social connections is a common issue based on how loved ones are shamed by their diagnosis.

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer Report, about 25 percent of people with dementia report hiding or concealing their diagnosis due to the stigma surrounding the disease, and 40 percent say they are often excluded from everyday life.

Sherri’s Other Articles on Mental Health

Read here about caregivers of veterans with invisible wounds of PTSD and TBI

Read here about  Catherine Zeta Jones living with bi-polar disorder

National Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct 6-12

October is National Mental Illness Awareness Week October 6-12 and October 10 is National Depression Screening Day. More than 61 million Americans — 1 in 4 — suffer from mental illness. And the CDC recently reported suicides among boomers has increased 47-59% over the last three years – one reason cited was caring for an older parent. Caregivers often suffer from depression and feel stigmatized when caring for a loved one with mental illness. Read the interviews and mental health stories all month long:

Interview with Glenn Close – caregiver to a sister with bi-polar disorder

Interview with  Catherine Zeta Jones – living with bi-polar disorder

Read the article about caring for a veteran with invisible wounds of PTSD and TBI

Find more information on mental health from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

Celebrity Spotlight

Caregiving Club CEO, Sherri Snelling, interviews celebrities from movies, TV, Broadway, sports, news, music and politics who are or have been a family caregiver.

In November we honor all the nation’s caregivers – those caring for older parents or family members, those caring for spouses, those caring for siblings or special needs children and those caring for friends — with special interviews all month long.

Read all the celebrity interviews by clicking here.

National Depression Screening Day – Oct 11

Glenn Close wants to eliminate the stigma of mental illness – read the story below on her new PSA campaign.

Glenn Close Wants to Change Your Mind About Mental Illness

All caregiving can be exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming and stressful but for the caregivers of those with a mental health issue the societal stigma you face creates additional challenges.  Addressing the need for greater understanding for mental illness, Oscar-nominated and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Glenn Close wants to help lift the veil of mental illness, reveal the myths and eliminate the shame associated with bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues through a new public service campaign.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental disorder and the average age is 14 for the on-set of mental illness.  Glenn has become a champion who is shedding light on the dark world of bi-polar disorder which affects her sister and her nephew.  Appearing on the TV morning show, Good Morning America, Glenn said she believes we need to be having discussions around mental illness and talk as openly as we do about other diseases such as cancer or diabetes.

Glenn and her sister star in a public service announcement (PSA) campaign on mental health issues created by BringChange2Mind, the nonprofit organization Glenn helped found to eliminate the discrimination felt by those with mental illness and their family caregiver.  Her hope is increased awareness will get more people to seek help.

Caregiver Depression a Slippery Slope

In a study of caregiver health risks, the National Alliance for Caregiving reported that 91 percent of those caregivers whose health was in decline reported suffering from depression over caring for a loved one.  We also know that for those 15 million Americans caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, the risk of becoming isolated from friends and other family and life’s typical connections is a common issue based on how their loved one is shamed by their diagnosis. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer Report 2012, about 25 percent of people with dementia report hiding or concealing their diagnosis due to the stigma surrounding the disease, and 40 percent say they are often excluded from everyday life.  This can also lead to depression for the family caregiver.

It is important that caregivers understand depression and their risk, know the signs and get screened (October 11 is National Depression Screening Day ) if they feel they cannot come out of ongoing depression and find support – whether through professional therapy, medication or support groups.

And the Awards Goes to . . . Fourth Annual CARE-Y Awards™ – Caregivers on TV

For the last four years I have bestowed my own version of the Emmy Awards – something I call the CARE-Y Awards™ that acknowledges both the reel stars and programs in the past year’s TV offerings and the real life caregivers who appear on TV.

Here are my top picks for the 2011-2012 season for the Fourth Annual CARE-Y Awards from the Caregiving Club:

 

 

 

“Reel Life” CARE-Y Awards – Playing a Caregiver on TV

Best long-distance caregiver on TV:  Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) – The Closer

We’ve watched actress Kyra Sedgwick catch the bad guys as Los Angeles Police Department Captain, Brenda Lee Johnson, on TNT’s The Closer.  However, in this final season of the series, it was Brenda’s father (played by actor Barry Corbin) who caught a different kind of bad guy:  thyroid cancer.  Brenda uses her power within the LAPD to influence a doctor suspected of Medicare fraud to treat her father in one of his clinical trials.  She also has her Atlanta-based parents move into her Los Angeles home for her father’s treatment and witnesses the toll that caregiving has taken on her mother (played by Frances Sternhagen) – which leads to a tragic conclusion in the episode, Last Rites.

Best caregiver for multiple loved ones on TV:  Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) – Unforgettable

On the CBS drama, Unforgettable, actress Poppy Montgomery plays Carrie Wells, a police investigator with hyperthymesia, a rare autobiographical memory ability first identified by researchers in 2006 with only 20 reported cases worldwide to date.  Interestingly, in real life actress Marilu Henner is one of the 20 people with this extraordinary gift.  Henner plays Carrie’s aunt in several episodes this season in which her character has early on-set Alzheimer’s.  Since Carrie’s mom suffers from the same disease and her aunt is childless, Carrie promises to be caregiver to both her mom and her aunt as their Alzheimer’s progresses. Unforgettable was also honored this year by the Alzheimer’s Association with the Abe Burrows Entertainment Award at the 20th Annual A Night at Sardi’s event. Watch clip

See Caregiving Club’s interview with Marilu from the Alzheimer’s Association A Night At Sardi’s event

Best Spousal Caregiver:  Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) – Grey’s Anatomy

Receiving this honor for the second year in a row, I give the award to Dr. Richard Webber (played by actor James Pickens, Jr.)  who was the hospital chief of surgery on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. For the last few seasons we’ve followed his journey as a caregiver for his wife Adele (played by Loretta Devine) who has early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  This year we watched her disease progress as she became violent and Richard struggled with the dilemma of whether to care for her at home or choose to have her move to a memory care facility.  Typical of many caregivers, Richard is in denial about not being able to care for his wife at home.  Meredith Grey (actress Ellen Pompeo) recommends he check Adele into the same assisted living facility where her mom with Alzheimer’s lived (played on past seasons by Alzheimer’s Champion Kate Burton). Watch clip

Best caregiver to a special needs child on TV:  Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) – Touch

Actor Kiefer Sutherland plays single father, Martin Bohm, to his autistic 11-year-old son, Jake (played by exceptional young actor David Mazouz) in Fox’s new series, Touch.  After losing his wife in the World Trade Center on 9/11, Martin desperately tries to reach his son who has never spoken since birth.  However, like many autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children, Jake is exceptionally gifted with numbers and understands the unique way number sequences connect everyone on earth.  Blending mystery, thriller and spirituality into a single TV program, Martin struggles with having his son treated while living in a board-and-care facility only to realize this decision was a mistake forcing him into a custody battle with his wife’s sister and eventually propelling father and son to go on the run.  Watch clip

Best sibling/friend caregivers:  Maggie (Amy Hargreaves) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) – Homeland

Showtime brings us Homeland, one of the most riveting new TV dramas that takes a poignant look at both PTSD and mental illness.  Claire Danes plays CIA agent Carrie Mathison who is both brilliant and bi-polar. As she struggles to help others see that the U.S. POW hero who recently returned home could be a terrorist she also struggles to keep her mental illness a secret from her employer with the help of her physician sister, Maggie (actress Amy Hargreaves) and her CIA mentor, Saul Berenson (actor Mandy Patinkin).  Carrie’s meltdown at the end of this season followed by her choice to do electro-shock therapy is heartwrenching and gives us a glimpse into the often painful lives of those with mental illness.  In my opinion, Claire Danes is Emmy-worthy in this role. Watch clip of Saul as Carrie has a manic phase in the hospital

Watch real life CIA undercover agent discuss Carrie’s bi-polar disease and her brilliance as an agent.

Best Caregiver in a Crisis – Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) – Rizzoli & Isles

This great TNT drama about two friends – one a Boston detective (played by Angie Harmon) and one a medical examiner (played by Sasha Alexander) showcased an episode where Dr. Isles unexpectedly has to make a DNR (do not resuscitate) decision for the father (John Doman) she never knew she had.  Great example of how not knowing your loved one’s wishes can force you into difficult decisions about their care. In another episode, Dr. Isles becomes caregiver to her mother (played by (Jacqueline Bisset) after she is in an auto accident.

 Best Made for TV Movie Caregiver:  Billie Clark (Kristin Davis) in Of Two Minds

This Lifetime original movie features Kristin Davis as Billie Clark, caregiver to her sister (played by Tammy Blanchard) who has schizophrenia.  The movie showcases the struggle of caring for a loved one with mental illness. Billie’s dilemma is that she loves her sister and wants her to live with her family but cannot cope with the havoc she wreaks including trying to seduce both her husband and her young son and ruining occasions such as an anniversary party.

 

 

Best Caregiving from another Era:  Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) on Downton Abbey

In season 2 of this wildly popular PBS drama, star-crossed lovers and distant cousins, Mary and Matthew, find themselves engulfed in the ravages of Britain’s fighting during World War I.  Matthew (played by Dan Stevens) returns home with severe injuries and may not live.  Mary plays caregiver to Matthew who recovers by season’s end.

 

 

Best Caregiver of a Grandparent:  Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) on Suits

This season, young lawyer Mike dealt with the decline of his grandmother (played by Rebecca Schull) who raised him since he was a young boy after his parents died.  Mike has to face moving his grandmother into a nursing home and she passes away suddenly in one of the last episodes.  In this same episode, Harvey (played by Gabriel Macht), who plays Mike’s boss, deals with his father’s sudden death from a heart attack.

 

Best veterans caregivers on TV: Army Wives, Grey’s Anatomy, Homeland

Showing the wounds of war are several shows:  Roland Burton (played by Sterling K. Brown) is a psychiatrist who cares for his army lieutenant wife, Joan (played by Wendy Davis) who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on Lifestime’s  Army Wives; Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh) and Major Owen Hunt (played by Kevin McKidd, another real-life Alzheimer’s Champion) are surgeons and husband and wife on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.  They have struggled with his PTSD after his tour in Afghanistan but the slow burn of his problems finally pull them apart this season.  New Showtime program, Homeland, offers up a different look at PTSD – not from combat but from being a prisoner of war (POW) – as Sargent Nicholas Brody (played by Damian Lewis) comes home to his wife Jessica (played by Morena Baccarin) but cannot cope with transitioning back to a normal life.

Best Caregiving Special or Documentary:  Your Turn to CareKCET (Hosted by Holly Robinson Peete and Produced by Margaret Hussey)

This several part series takes viewers through the various issues many caregivers face:  when and how to discuss driving retirement with a parent, how to plan for long-term care, etc. showcasing real life caregiving situations.

View clips and see the Web site

 

Special Recognition Awards:

Best PSA Campaign and show integration:  Hot in Cleveland where actresses Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves star in a public service announcement about heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women and integrated that message into an episode storyline.

 

 

 

Best Advertising:  Depends starring Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna – kudos to gorgeous real-life TV star couple for starring in a TV commercial about absorbent briefs showing that incontinence issues can hit even when you still look great on the outside.

 

 

“Real Life” CARE-Y Awards – Caregivers on TV

Best Caregiver of a Morning Show Host – Sally Ann Roberts, sister to Robin, co-host of Good Morning America

Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America who beat breast cancer five year ago was hit again – this time with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), a type of pre-leukemia that attacks the blood and bone marrow.  In an emotional message, she told viewers she would be undergoing a life-saving bone marrow transplant and the donor would be her sister, Sally Ann.  Both Robin and Sally Ann talk about the importance of organ donation and encourage everyone to sign up for a donor registry such as bethematch.org.  The transplant took place on September 20 and I wish Robin and Sally Ann swift, successful recoveries.

 

 

 

Best Caregivers Who Are Lead Actors in a Drama Series – Peter Gallagher and Bryan Cranston 

This is a tie between Peter Gallagher, who plays Arthur Campbell, head of the CIA on Covert Affairs on USA Network and Bryan Cranston who plays Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad.  Both Peter and Bryan cared for mothers who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and are Alzheimer’s Association Champions. (See Caregiving Club’s interview with Peter Gallagher from the Alzheimer’s Association A Night at Sardi’s event).

 

Best Caregivers Who Are Lead Actresses in a Drama SeriesMadeleine Stowe, Glenn Close, Marg Helgenberger

Another tie –this time three ways – Madeline Stowe, who plays evil Victoria Grayson on ABC’s Revenge and Glenn Close who has won an Emmy in the past for playing evil Patty Hewes on DirectTV’s Damages.   Madeleine was a young caregiver to her father who suffered from multiple sclerosis and Glenn cares for a sister who has bi-polar disorder and who stars with her sister in PSA’s and created a foundation, BringChange2Mind.org to raise awareness for mental illness.  Marg Helgenberger, who played her 12th and final season this year on CBS’s top-rated drama, CSI, was a caregiver for both her mom with breast cancer and her father who died from complications of multiple sclerosis.  (See Caregiving Club’s interview with Marg from the Nancy Davis Race to Erase MS event).

Best Caregiver Who Is a Talk Show Host – Katie Couric

The Katie Show, which debuted to high ratings for ABC, is hoted by longtime news anchor, Katie Couric, who cared for her husband who died of colon cancer.  Her sister also passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Couric has been a tireless advocate for colon cancer screenings and education and supports the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign.

 

 

 

 

Kudos to Programs That Show Ability Rather Than Disability, Disease or Disorder:

The wonderful guest actor Michael J.Fox on CBS’s The Good Wife who plays a cunning lawyer with Parkinson’s disease – which Fox lives with in real life.

 

 

Showing that blind doesn’t keep you from spy work – Christopher Gorham plays Augie who is a blind CIA analyst often saving Annie (Piper Perabo) on USA Network’s Covert Affairs.

 

 

Artie (played by Kevin McHale) is a singer/guitarist on Fox’s Glee who just happens to also be a paraplegic in a wheelchair.

 

 

Eric McCormack plays brilliant but paranoid schizophrenic neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Pierce on the new TNT seriesPerception.

 

 

My special thanks to the writers, directors and producers who help shed more light on caregiving in their programming.  And, special thanks to those real-life caregivers who help the 65 million caregivers across the country know they are not alone when these high-profile celebrities talk of their own caregiving experiences.

If you have a nomination for a reel or real life caregiver, send me your suggestions at info@caregivingclub.com.  

Click on these links to see previous year’s awards:

2011 – Third Annual CARE-Y Awards

2010 – Second Annual CARE-Y Awards

2009 – First Annual CARE-Y Award winners.

Read about celebrity caregivers and “what to expect when you’re caregiving” in Sherri’s new book, A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care published by Balboa Press, division of Hay House Publishing in Feb, 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Caregiver Interviews

When it comes to caregiving, celebrities from TV, films, sports, news and music are just like the rest of us.  While some may have more financial resources available to them, they still face a fragmented health care system and experience the emotional roller coaster that is the caregiving journey.  Our Caregiving Club CEO Sherri Snelling has been interviewing these celebrities for articles and her new book to be published in 2013.  Read the latest Celebrity Caregiver Interviews below.

 

Glenn Close

Jodie Foster

Marg Helgenberger

Diane Keaton

Joan Lunden

Sylvia Mackey – Mrs. 88

David Murdock

Suze Orman

Alan & David Osmond

Holly Robinson Peete

Brooke Shields

Alana Stewart

Jill Eikenberry & Michael Tucker

Meredith Vieira

Reese Witherspoon

Catherine Zeta Jones

 

Celebrity Caregiving Interviews Oct 2013

Caregiving At the Oscars® – 1st Annual CAREY Awards℠

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with the movies.  Movies are magic come to life.   They transport you and let you escape.  They make you feel a range of emotions but mostly they can make you believe.  Movies give you hope for better things in a world that is sometimes all too real.  As I did my research for this blog, I came across this comment in the Cultures of Caregiving, “Films show us as we would like to be or as we hope to avoid becoming, and only rarely as we really are.”

I believe that what we really are is a nation of caregivers and this year’s selection of Academy Award-nominated films and stars supports my theory.  Since I have spent the last decade as a writer and advocate on family caregiving, what better way to express my twin passions – movies and caregiving – than with my own version of the world-famous Oscars®.

Therefore, I present you with the Caregiving Club’s 1st Annual CAREY Awards℠ – an observation of the films of 2011, some of which may not have garnered an Academy Award nomination but that capture the “reel life” caregiving situations in our lives.  In addition, I give special recognition to the 2011 film stars who are among the nation’s 65 million “real life” caregivers. These films show us how Alzheimer’s and dementia, mental illness, cancer, Asperger’s disease and even sudden accidents that demonstrate the need for end-of-life wishes and the need for DNRs – are all part of the fabric of our lives.

1st Annual CAREY Award℠ Winners:  Caregiving in Reel Life

The Help – In one of the most hilarious scenes of 2011 filmmaking, Sissy Spacek’s character (Missus Walters) suffers from dementia but has enough short-term memory to remember her daughter’s embarrassment over the infamous “pie” story.  Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook brings one of the most insidiously evil characters of the Civil Rights movement to the screen but it is “the help” played by the wonderful Viola Davis (Aibileen) and Octavia Spencer (Minny) who steal the film.  There is also a poignant moment when Skeeter’s (played by Emma Stone) mother (played by Allison Janney) shows the sad divide of not just racial intolerance but intolerance for an aging loved one when she is pressured to fire her long-time maid, Constantine, played by the iconic Cicely Tyson.  Nominated for Best Picture and Best Actress and Supporting Actress for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer respectively.

The Iron Lady – The incomparable Meryl Streep plays formidable British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.  The film opens with an aging Thatcher who is suffering from dementia and shows us the slow degeneration of a woman who led a nation and commanded the world stage.  Her disease is all too poignantly wrought by Streep who shows us the steady decline of a fierce female political warrior in her heyday who spends the later part of her life having imaginary conversations with her dead husband and feeling just a bit irrelevant.  Streep has the most Oscar nominations in Academy Award history – 17 – including Best Actress nomination for Iron Lady and she has won twice before.

Jane Eyre – One of the most romantic books and a popular book-to-film property (the Bronte sisters run a close second to Jane Austen in terms of moviemakers going back to the classic well for content),  Mia Wasikowska plays our beloved Jane, while Michael Fassbender gives us a smoldering Mr. Rochester.   Both Jane and Rochester are caregivers — Jane cares first for a childhood friend, Helen, who dies of consumption, and then for her dying aunt while Rochester cares for a mentally ill wife.  Nominated for Best Costume Design.

50/50 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam Lerner, receives a devastating diagnosis of rare cancer with a 50/50 survival rate.  Angelica Houston plays Adam’s overbearing mother who wants to come live with her son to care for him even though she is also caring for her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.   Seth Rogen (who in real life is an Alzheimer’s  Association champion and host of “Hilary for Charity” event) plays his best friend.

Rise of The Planet of the Apes stars James Franco as Will Rodman, a biotechnology researcher trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s to help his father (played by John Lithgow).   Nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Friends with Benefits – Justin Timberlake’s character, Dylan, has a father (played by Richard Jenkins) with progressive dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Jenna Elfman plays Timberlake’s big sister and primary caregiver to their dad.  What I loved about this movie was the showcase for understanding a difficult disease such as Alzheimer’s.  At first, Dylan is embarrassed by his father’s lack of memory, tendancy to not wear pants and irritation in the first of two restaurant scenes.  But, his best friend/lover, Jamie, played by Mila Kunis, helps him to see that he needs to realize his dad lives in another reality now.  In a hilarious scene of love and acceptance both Dylan and his father take off their pants in an airport restaurant and proceed to eat their dinner.   On the DVD commentary with the film’s stars, both Timberlake and Kunis talk about how both their families have been touched by loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – In one of the most incredible performances by a young actor, made even more incredible because this is his first acting job, newcomer Thomas Horn plays Oskar Schell, a child with Asperger’s syndrome who is trying to cope with loss of his father, played by Tom Hanks, in the 9/11 tragedy.  In a 10-tissue tear-jerking ending, his mother (played by Sandra Bullock) demonstrates a unique understanding  of the specialness of her child.  Nominated for Best Picture.

J. Edgar – Although shut-out from a Best Actor nod, Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title character of long-running FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover who cares for his aging mother (played by Judi Dench) until her death. He also cares for his right hand man at the bureau, best friend and partner, Clyde Tolson, who suffers a stroke later in life but whom Hoover continues to care for until Hoover’s death.

The Descendants – Although not a caregiving situation, this movie has an important lesson about health care directives and DNRs.  George Clooney’s character, Matt King, finds his wife in a vegetative state after a speed boat accident and must guide his daughters and his father-in-law on letting go of her based on her legal wishes to not be kept on life support.  Along the way, he establishes a much stronger bond with his two daughters.  Nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor for Clooney.

New Year’s Eve – An estranged daughter (played by Oscar winner Hilary Swank) helps her father (played by Oscar winner Robert De Niro) with his end-of-life wish to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve from the rooftop of the hospital.

One Day – While the main plot of this movie is the story between two college friends, Dex and Em, who are truly soul mates (played by Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway) – the emotional subplot is when Dex, a self-centered, insensitive young man realizes what true love is as he cares for his mother, played by Patricia Clarkson, who is dying from cancer.

Beginners  – A cancer-stricken father, Hal, played by the fabulous Christopher Plummer, reveals a long-kept secret of his homosexuality to his son, Oliver, played by Ewan MacGregor.  Through his caregiving journey for his dad, Oliver comes to appreciate the true meaning of love.

 

“Just a Little Heart Attack” is a short 3-minute film starring Elizabeth Banks (star of 2011’s My Idiot Brother and 2012’s Hunger Games) coupled with Colin Egglefield (star of 2011’s Something Borrowed) created for the American Heart Association’s campaign to educate women about heart disease.

1st Annual CAREY Awards℠ – The Real Life Caregivers

 

 

 

 

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs – Glenn Close is a real-life supporter and caregiver to her sister, Jessie, who has bi-polar disorder.  Jessie’s son and Glenn’s nephew, has schizo-affective disorder.  Glenn created the non-profit organization, BringChange2Mind, and filmed a public service announcement (PSA) to help destigmatize mental illness.   Glenn is nominated for a Best Actress Award for Albert Nobbs.

 

 

 

Bradley Cooper – Limitless, Hangover Part II – Cooper, named People Magazine’s 2011 “Sexiest Man Alive,”  lost his father after a long illness last year.  Cooper is also an Alzheimer’s Association Champion.

 

 

 

Hal Holbrook – Water for Elephants  – Hal Holbrook plays the older version of Robert Pattinson’s character in the visually sumptuous Water for Elephants.  In real life, the 87-year-old Holbrook was caregiver to his wife, Dixie Carter (of TV’s Designing Women fame) who passed away in 2010 from endometrial cancer.

 

 

Seth Rogen – 50/50, Kung Fu Panda 2 – As previously noted, Rogen is a champion for the Alzheimer’s Association based on his co-caregiving role to his wife’s mother who suffers from the disease.

 

 

While they all may not win an Oscar statuette come February 26 – these films and stars are winners in my caregiving book!