Alzheimer's Other Victims

  • By Laura Helft
  • Posted 04.07.16
  • NOVA

Alzheimer's disease impacts more than just the patient. Family members of Alzheimer's victims describe what it's like to have a loved one with this kind of dementia.


Running Time: 03:53


Arthur Canter: “It’s hard to care for people who have dementia.”

Fay Canter (SOT): “That’s my youngest daughter.”

Arthur Canter (SOT): “No.”

Fay Canter (SOT): “Is that my younger granddaughter?”

Arthur Canter: “You have to be very patient.”

Arthur Canter: “You cannot personalize what the individual is doing. You know, try to realize that whatever they’re going through is what they are going through. It has nothing do with you.”

Arthur Canter (SOT): “Do you want to sit mom?”

Fay Canter (SOT): “Yeah.”

Arthur Canter: “Yes, it is very difficult to see a loved one who’s not the same loved one that you grew up with. The same person is, is there. She’s still there. She’s still that loving mother and I just have to be there as a son.”

Rudy Tanzi: “The average lifespan is now about 80. At 85, roughly 30% of the population will have Alzheimer’s disease. And many of us have a loved one who’s suffering with this disease or has a family member with this disease.”

Arthur Canter: “Well, my mom has Alzheimer's and obviously, it has been significant for all of us because we only want the best for her.”

Arthur Canter (SOT): "How are you doing?"

Arthur Canter: People look at Alzheimer's, with whoever the individual is, they grieve. The focus is, you know, I'm grieving the loss of that person who was so close to me for so many years because now I'm dealing with this other person.”

Arthur Canter: “Who is this individual? Who has this individual been? You know, what have they been to you over the years? They're not gonna be that same individual ever again.”

Fay Center (SOT): “That’s me, my husband…”

Tony Estrella (SOT): “So, who else needs to know that information?”

Tony Estrella: “When you get to a point where you're in a position where you need to kind of look out more for your parents and and you're used to the role being the other way around. And then you know that there may be a point at which that, that is, you know, exponentially increased.

Donna Estrella (SOT): Yeah, I’m going to get a couple of things at the store. Show Tony the pictures.

Tony Estrella (SOT): “Yeah, you showed me that. You can cross that out. You already did that.”

Conor O'Brien: “We knew that my Dad had something wrong with him, we saw certain things. He’s usually the life of the party and you know, if we'd go to a family cookout or something, he kind of keeps to himself. And then he sat us down and kind of broke the news to us. But we were like, it was kind of a sign of relief, we were like, ‘Okay, now we know what the problem is.’"

Mary-Catherine O'Brien: “I never told anybody about it. It was embarrassing, you know. And that's what I think is, what's changing about Alzheimer's, is it's a disease.”

Mary-Catherine O'Brien: “The frustration of I'll, I'll say, ‘Can I help you?’ And he just says, ‘No, my brain's not working, my brain's not working.’ And as you can imagine, who wouldn't be frustrated?”

Donna Estrella (SOT): “It is what it is, Tony, you know?”

Tony Estrella (SOT): “Right, yeah.”

Tony Estrella: “When you tend to see people suffering from Alzheimer's, with that comes a certain amount of fear about what's gonna happen to your mom. And and of course, by extension then, genetically, knowing that there are certain genetic markers for it, that all of a sudden you can't help but think about yourself as well. My grandfather had Alzheimer's as well and so you think about, ‘This isn't gonna stop here.’”

Tony Estrella (SOT): “So, yeah, leave that one alone, right on top. Do you want to put the date on first?”



Original Footage from Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?
Written, Produced & Directed by
Sarah Holt
Laura Helft
William A. Anderson
Line Producer
Heather Forbes
Associate Producer
Laura Schebler Rammelsberg
Post Production Supervisor
Arjun Rao
Assistant Editors
Penny Hollis
Michael Quartulli
Color Correct and Audio Mix
Henninger Media Services
Editorial Advisors
Laura Bonetta
Dennis Liu
Music by
New West Studios, Inc.
© 2016 Tangled Bank Studios, LLC
All rights reserved


(main image: TK)
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2016

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