Here is what people are saying about the new PBS
documentary There Is a Bridge

01.14.09


“I do not have anyone in my family with alzheimers, I simply saw the documentary a few nights ago and have not been able to stop thinking about and feeling with it! I do not ever remember being so moved by a documentary. And what was strange was, only the day before I had been saying that I wish the elderly of our nation would be better utilized as story-tellers who hold primary source material in the form of memories about cultural, historical, political, and artistic lessons. And then I got insomnia and suddenly there was your beautiful film!! Thank you so much, I am recommending it to everyone and anyone; it seems to me that what the film is also about, in addition to alzheimers, is the present moment, and ways of making connections that are deep and real, between people. ”


Katie Bull • New York City

01.02.09


“In the throes of a mom in late-stage AD, currently residing in an AD unit of an assisted-living facility for 2 years, continuing to spend hours with her daily to calm her fears, and meet her needs for connection and companionship, I applaud your work, cheer you on! My response was both emotional and intellectual to one episode aired on my local PBS station tonight, and I will purchase the CD to share with her facility's staff and others.

The loss of personal dignity and basic sense of self is truly immeasurable and profound, much of which COULD be minimized with widespread acceptance of your premise and program with students, as well, with required study by facility caregivers nationwide. The 'music' bridge is significant. Music therapy never fails to work, and sing-a-long to familiar old songs sessions are part of my contribution to a bunch of very special, loved, and respected by me seniors in my mother's surroundings. Keep up the good work!! ”


Delores • Atlanta, GA

12.03.08


“The DVD jacket for There is a Bridge reads, "Alzheimer's disease is not the end. Sometimes it can be a beginning."

This idea may seem foreign to many, but Memory Bridge, the foundation that produced this documentary, is trying to tell us something comforting and profound: Namely, that contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer's disease does not rob identity. Does it make it harder for the person to function day-to-day? Yes. Can it create difficult behavioral issues? Yes. Does it make it harder to communicate?Absolutely.

But does it make the person disappear? No. Does it make the person less human? No. And does it make communication impossible? Absolutely not.

Why? Because no matter how severely someone is experiencing Alzheimer's, there is still a bridge. It could be verbal, or it might be through touch. Perhaps it's music that creates that bridge. Sometimes, it's simply being present with someone in gentle silence.

Thank you, Memory Bridge, for this important lesson in humanity.

Read my complete review at: http://alzheimers.about.com/od/booksmagsandmovies/gr/thereisabridge.htm

About.com Rating: Five Stars ”


Carrie Hill Ph.D. • Paragonah, UT

11.19.08


“My sister and I watched the DVD last week and were both so moved by the wonderful connection that can be re-gained when one has a family member with Alzheimers. It has re-affirmed our feeling that there is always a way to "reach" that person that has slipped away from the "real" world. Everyone who works and/or loves a person with Alzheimers must see "There is a Bridge". Life, at whatever level, is a gift. ”


Pati Naritomi • Charlotte, VT

11.15.08


“I viewed "there is a bridge" last evening and it gave me great insight as to how to acheive my goals of reaching my residents that seem to cry out for the relationships that your video exemplifies. I am excited to use the tools I gained from watching the video to create that human connection. ”


Debbie Janda • Glen Ellyn IL

11.15.08


“I use this video to help train volunteers who work with our residents and everytime I watch it, I get something new, feel something different, and learn more. I love the fact that this training focuses on connecting. Relationship. Love. Everytime I see the video, I get a new passion for working with seniors with dementia. ”


Mary Shafer • Glen Ellyn IL

11.05.08


“I watched this DVD at a hospice volunteer in-service training. My 10 year-old daughter was with me. I expected that she would do her homework while I watched however we both quickly become engrossed in the DVD! It was very affirming of the work I do with people with dementia; it taught me a lot; and it was very moving to see the beautiful interactions. I recommend the DVD to hospice volunteers, family members of people with dementia, and people who work with those with dementia. In fact, I had to order a second DVD as I was loaning mine out so much! ”


Toni Monsey • Charlotte, Vermont

06.25.08


“I am currently 85% completed with Naomi Feil's Validation Worker Course...we watched this video the first day of class, and it moves me still. I can think of no better way to spend my life...Thank, You Naomi, for all you have done in this field. I count my blessings every single day; life is a gift, and so is this worker course. I encourage everyone out there to get involved with Naomi's Validation Worker course...it will change your life. I know it has mine. ”


Jennifer Little • Pittsburgh, PA

06.18.08


“I watched this wonderful documentary with a hospice volunteer group last night. All 18 of us were touched by the love & caring of so many people! I have volunteered with Beacon Hospice of NH for more than a year visiting alzheimer's patients many times.
This documentary has shown me so many ways to try and communicate better with these wonderful people. Thank you! ”


Patricia Madden • Merrimack, NH

06.17.08


“What is it about Chicago, that it should be the birthplace of such creativity in finding solutions to our human conditions...from a place that values us all. ”


Robin McMahon • London

06.10.08


“Thank you for the beautiful resource for those with a family member with Alzheimers. I took to heart your advice on the importance of "the gift of time" for all involved. ”


Marjorie McLellan • Yellow Springs, OH

04.19.08


“I began to watch these clips with the fatigue of a week of difficult andd unexpected problems. I finished with a light heart and renewed purpose to my place in my aunt's life. Thank you, thank you. ”


S. Jean • Vancouver, WA

04.16.08


“Good Day,
Just wanted to let you know that we showed the DVD at our monthly Activity Directors Meeting (Activity Directors of Greater San Diego) here in North County San Diego yesterday and we want to applaud you for a great documentary…I shared it with my boss because in the near future we are starting construction of our Alz. wing and we both feel this will be a great tool to share with the staff. Thank you and may God Bless you and your family (s). ”


Jean Marie Blakesly • San Diego, Ca

03.05.08


“I saw this video a few days ago at an Alzheimer's Foundation of America conference in Miami. The clip of Gladys and Naomi is a reminder of why we do what we do. While each of us contributes a piece to the puzzle in our respective professions, let this clip serve as a reminder and as a beacon of hope during the tough times. Gladys proves that there is always hope for that one special moment, even when hope seems lost. ”


Sonya • Melbourne, FL

01.27.08


“I have just viewed There Is a Bridge and saw an old friend of mine whose company I have not been in for over twenty years. I met Jenny Knauss as a young professional women in my mid-twenties. Jenny was the Director of a Caucus on whose Board I served. Although I was the youngest member of the Board, Jenny treated me with such digintiy and respect. She helped build my self-confidence and played a key and vital role in a very exciting time of my professional life and growth. "Seeing" her today reminded me of how brilliant a woman she still is and will always be. I hadn't seen her during the twenty years that the disease had presented and progressed, but what I did view was very much how Jenny still was herself with her personality and her outlook on life. Jenny is living with the disease, not dying from it. Thank you for reconnecting me with my friend and showing me how full and vital her life still is. Love and regards to you Jenny! ”


Myra Wood Bennett • southernmost Illinois

12.23.07


“Thank you. I took care of my grandma during the last few years of her life. I was able to connect deeply with her through dance and music. Other family members could only see a loss that that wasn't really her while I was able to create a bond with her, and she trusted me. She took my African dance class with me and she came out salsa dancing as well. She loved to play the piano, and we would sing all her songs all the time. Watching these clips gave me the validation I need. Thank you. ”


Lynnie • Ohio

12.17.07


“I watched the clip with Mrs. Wilson and I saw Love in action. I cried. This was so beautiful, like something lifted out of time and space; proving that connectedness, regardless of outward differences or appearances is the truth of us all. We are one. ”


Trudy • Santa Cruz, CA

12.07.07


“The video clips I watched from your website were so touching. My 97 yo uncle is living in an assisted living facility and I am the only relative visiting him and taking care of him. He has never been diagnosed with Alzheimers, but his dementia is rapidly progressing. Your films have given me a 'heads-up' on my own impatience and what I thought was my inability to reach him in 'my world.' It has not only given me a new perspective of being present (in my own life as well) to Sam, but the assisted living facility has just ordered several DVDs of your film for training purposes, and for their library.

Thank you so much for this gift. ”


Lolli Levine • Berkeley, California

11.28.07


“I conected so completely with your clip with Ms. Wilson singing. My grandmother is in her early 90's and she still will sing every word to Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me, and let us know that Jesus is always with us and God always watches over us. Her Alzheimer's may take her mind but not her spirit. May this film help others to see what I have seen. Their spirit still lives on. My father also has Alzheimers and it is a great comfort to me that his faith will stay with him as it has for his mother, and I can continue to share that faith with them though the disease takes most else away. ”


Karen Turner • Winchester, VA

11.22.07


“The clip with Mrs. Wilson was the most beautiful, wonderful, uplifting thing I have ever seen. Thank you for giving us hope. ”


Kessa • Indianapolis

11.17.07


“I saw the film on Public Television KLRN, Ch.9 and was very moved by your program. My mother died of this disease and my whole family is so afraid of getting it. It hit my mother so fast that it did not give us time to find a way to communicate with her since she could not speak or eat. My daughter and I would sing to her to calm her down, her favorite were old christian songs she would remember and react to it by tears and smiles, just like in your film. Thank you, this film brought some healing to me as I was her care giver and never knew if I was doing the right thing. Thanks again for your organization and the wonderful film. ”


Mary Jane Arispe • San Antonio, Tx

11.11.07


“Your film was beautiful. I have been dealing with my mothers Alzheimer's for the past 10 years. She has been in an Alzheimer's assisted living for the past 3 years. Shortly after her move to the assisted living facility I had a conversation with the director. She said my mother was adorable, funny, spunky and happy. All I could see was what I had lost and who she had been. The assisted living saw her and accepted her for who she is today. It took me a while to reach their level of understanding. Now, each moment with my Mom is a gift. ”


Helen Bergman • Port St Lucie, FL

10.31.07


“My wife and I just finished watching 'There is a Bridge.' It was dignified and artful and had a level of sensitivity that is unmatched by anything I've seen along these lines. One thing that always used to reach my mother-in-law was children, especially babies. I found the high school Memory Bridge program interesting in that regard. In thinking about it, there is a certain beauty and energy that all children possess and emanate to all around them. Most people on Alzheimer's units are probably pretty cut off from children, I'll bet. They see the other residents, the adult staff, their adult children visitors, but I'll bet they seldom experience the glow of youth. I think the mere presence of a child who shows interest in the older person reaches places that haven't been reached in a long time for many of those folks.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful video with my wife and me. ”


William Klunk, MD, PhD • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Institute On Aging

10.30.07


“This powerful and evocative program will make you think about Alzheimer's disease in new ways and takes important steps toward humanizing this condition. ”


Jeffrey Cummings, M.D. • Director of the Alzheimer Disease Center at UCLA School of Medicine

10.23.07


“This show impacted me very powerfully. I see now the peace, compassion, and true inclusion this show teaches to both Alzheimer's patients and the caregivers. What struck me was realizing that if my mother one day no longer recognizes me, her lack of memory in no way invalidates me OR our history together! While I can't say it will be an easy time when it happens, I now understand the grace and power of loving her "right where she is" -- on her own Path-- rather than trying to drag her back to "my" reality. Thank you, thank you! ”


Michelle S. • Pearland, Texas

10.17.07


“What a beautiful, powerful program. Watching Naomi Feil's breakthrough with Gladys was life changing. As a daughter who lost her father to this disease, a social worker who works with this population, and a clinical instructor of social work students going into aging, I am so thankful for this documentary. ”


Kerri Patrick • Durham,NC

10.10.07


“My mother is an only child, so all my aunts and uncles were 'greats.' This gave me a wonderful appreciation of those two generations older than I, from a very early age on. Now, there is no respect for them anymore, even before they acquire age-related troubles. I was mesmerized by this lovely, bittersweet film and feel EVERYONE ALIVE should see it. ”


Deborah Rouse • Honesdale, Pennsylvania

10.09.07


“Last night, Monday the 8th of October, I saw your programme and it absolutely renewed my faith in compassion for people. The only time I had seen this was in the 80s and 90s during the aids devastation. Unfortunately it rarely exists anymore. But you certainly hit my heart and mind last night. Thank you. ”


Maurice Pacini • Los Angeles California

09.29.07


“I have just seen "There Is a Bridge." It is, in itself a powerful work of art, from the videography to the beautiful illustrations that resulted from observing the interactions between people with dementia and others. Artistry informs every aspect of this film.

As a teacher, I was really moved to see early adolescents stretch themselves to try to connect with people whose diseases had robbed them of language and lines of thought in order to become "buddies" to the people with dementia. This is service learning at its best!

As a person with early dementia myself, I am more hopeful that people will be around to try to reach me when I can no longer reach them for myself. Thank you, Michael Verde, and the creative Memory Bridge staff.

Carole Mulliken
Co-founder, DementiaUSA
Founding board member, DASN International ”


Carole Mulliken • Washington, MO

09.28.07


“I am the Bereavement Coordinator for Beacon Hospice, Inc. As part of my job I provide support groups at our nursing home, for the loved ones of the patients in the facility with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I have purchased your documentary and was just speechless!!! I feel this is something I MUST show the facilities I work with (families and staff) as well as at our support groups. I feel what you all have created touches on so many issues that come up in my group and does so with such compassion and grace. Thanks you for all you do! ”


Liz Mearkle • Fall River, MA

09.27.07


“I watched your documentary. The compassion and mercy that those children and adults showed the patients was wonderful to see. It was the first I had heard of your organization. I believe it proves that the power of LOVE and caring human touch conquer and transcend all barriers. May all who are affiliated and work through your organization be blessed. ”


Janice Frisbie • Ocala, FL

09.21.07


“I cared for my Dad with Alzheimer's Disease for 7 years. I currently work as an RN in an Acute Care Center/Christiana Care Hospital/Delaware in an ACE Unit.

I found your documentary to be honest, right on the mark when it comes to the AD patient. I would like to see staff working with AD patients be required to see this information. It lets us know even the AD patient has value. Isn't that what we all want? I would like to work within the bigger picture with the Alzehimer's patients, I just haven't decided where that desire will lead me. I connected to your tape on every level. Thank you for caring enough. I always said my Dad's illness taught me so much and gave me so much, it was indeed a gift taking care of him, Walter Gentz, died 2 years ago. ”


Cynthia Irving • Delaware

09.19.07


“I watched the film last night. I thought it was fabulous! I teach nursing and am currently in a long term care facility with my students. I would love to make this a required viewing opportunity for them. ”


Laura Herbert • Ohio

09.14.07


“My mother is "slipping away". I feel such a deep sense of loss, because she was ALWAYS immaculate in her appearance. Now, she doesn't care, and I don't think she realizes it. I MISS MY MOM!!. Thanks for your program. ”


Lynda • Spanaway, Washington

09.07.07


“Amazing! ”


A Young Person • Central California

09.07.07


“I also have a parent with dementia who is not able to speak. My sisters who live in San Jose, CA and I feel the loss of our mother and not being able to know what she is thinking and trying to communicate with her is very difficult. This program was very informative. Thank you. ”


Bonnie Troy • Philadelphia, PA

09.07.07


“I saw most of the film last night on PBS and was mesmerized. Stood in front of the TV on my way to sit down, and could not move. Years ago I had a summer experience looking after someone with Alzheimers, and I know a wonderful woman who for 12 years looked after her husband of many years when he got Alzheimers. But there was nothing spiritually intimate like some of the moments in your film.

My own personal experience of reaching the soul in someone came when I was looking after my ex-husband for a year after a devestating stroke he had, followed by our daughter's time with him when she took over for 9 months and stayed in charge of his care from nursing home to Continuing Care facility to death. His mind did not shrink, just his body and his ability to respond. I told him just before his death that his body may have got smaller but his soul got huge. Our daughter was marvellous and treasures her deeper relationship with her dad.

Still, I wish we had seen your film in those times...and shown it to the multitudes of staff in hospitals etc. Of all the kind and caring nurses etc. who helped him in his final years, there was ONE who actually crawled into his soul the way the people in your film crawled into the hearts and minds of the people in your film.

Thank you for doing this film...may it reach millions of people, and make positive changes in their lives.

Yours in peace,

Susan Epps ”


Susan Epps • Canada and USA

08.30.07


“What is devastating for those of us who have a loved one suffering from dementia is our sense of loss, the sense that this person we love is slipping away. Your film helped me to understand how and why this is happening, and perhaps more importantly it showed me ways to bridge the gap. Thank you for enabling me to experience tenderness once again with someone I thought I had lost. ”


Catha Paquette • Long Beach, California