Wednesday, April 6 at 8 p.m.
Three courageous women whose mothers have all been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease volunteer for a potentially ground-breaking research study, hoping along the way to understand their own risks and vulnerabilities in the face of this heart-breaking disease. We come to know each of them through intimate portraits captured by the filmmakers over a five year journey. Barb, who takes turns with her family in caring for their dying mother in a rural corner of Wisconsin; Sigrid, a retiree who’s exploring lifestyle changes that she hopes can stave off the threat; and Karen, who struggles to raise her adolescent son in Milwaukee soon after her mother’s death from the Alzheimer’s.
Each woman is determined to contribute to a cure by enrolling in a groundbreaking study at the University of Wisconsin, which includes testing whether early interventions such as improved exercise and diet can help lower the risk. The program closely follows the women’s ups and downs as they anxiously watch for signs of the disease and deal with the stresses that their mothers’ illnesses contributed to within their marriages and families. “Determined: Fighting Alzheimer’s” also captures the obstacles faced by the Wisconsin researchers, such as the deep-rooted mistrust of medical trials in underserved communities that stems in part from the history of unethical experiments on people of color. Alzheimer’s is a disease battled on many fronts: in the laboratory, in the home, in the mind and in hopes and fears about the future.