A new documentary “Love Is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness” was released on Amazon PRIME on June 26. The documentary demonstrates that loneliness need not be the inevitable condition of people with dementia. This is the second film produced by Michael Verde, founder of Memory Bridge, who also produced, “There Is a Bridge,” which aired on PBS in 2007.
The documentary aims to raise public awareness of the impact that genuinely meaningful communication has on the lives of people with dementia.
“When people truly listen to us, with complete attention and free of all judgment, it heals the emotional isolation that is the main source of the suffering of dementia,” Verde says.
Internationally-recognized authorities in art, science and spiritual traditions explore how the quality of our listening to people with dementia is the most important aspect of our care for them.
While 70 percent of people know someone with dementia, research shows that many people “worry about what to say” to those with this condition. “Love Is Listening” demonstrates a new way of being with people who have dementia. It shows how to turn an awkward exchange into one that flows, is intimate, and combats loneliness through companionship.
The cast includes: Jean Vanier, the recently-deceased founder of L’Arche, an international foundation dedicated to the creation and growth of homes and support for people with intellectual disabilities; Dame Evelyn Glennie, the world’s premiere solo percussionist who has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12; Naomi Feil who developed “Validation,” a method of working with severely disoriented elderly people taught around the world; and Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Director of the International Center for Excellence in EFT.
“The people who disturb us the most are our most important teachers,” Vanier says. “At the bottom of the social ladder are those who have been rejected. Their presence obliges us to look more deeply into our own lives. We discover that the fundamental thread to be loved is in everybody.” A diagnosis of dementia can predict the beginning of a life of profound loneliness. That no longer needs to be the case. We can learn to communicate in ways that dementia does not impede. “This documentary is a gift to humanity,” Lisa Genova, author of “Still Alice,” says.