Why I Hate The Notebook: Dementia Facts vs. Fiction


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Why do I hate The Notebook?

This movie – the Notebook –did dementia care a terrible disservice back in 2004. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have seen it, and it’s been a while, you may know that these two people are married, but she allegedly has dementia. I’ve never seen anybody living with dementia who’s this well put together. But fine. Anyway, there’s a scene when he comes and reads to her every day, and the book that he is reading to her is like his diary, and it’s like the story of their life together, but she apparently has no idea who he is, yadda, so one day he goes in there to visit her and they start dancing and suddenly it’s like dementia is a magic little hat. And she takes the hat off and is like, Hey, remember that time I had dementia? Wow, that was nuts. And then the hat comes back on and she’s confused again. That’s not how dementia works. And here’s my other problem with this scene. So she says, how long before I forget again? He says, last time it was only a few minutes.

I miss you so much. I’ve been right here. I’ll never leave you. Who are you? Right? Nonsense. This kind of thing would not work in real life. That’s not how this works. If we were being realistic, this is what it would look like. She’d be like, oh, I know this guy. He’s my “somebody that fits in my timeline.” So she would know that she knew him. She would probably just assume that he was, you know, an older brother, a sibling, a neighbor. She would know that she knew him. She just wouldn’t be able to place him because probably in her reality, she thinks she’s a lot younger than she is here. And that’s probably what’s going on here.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Hate The Notebook: Dementia Facts vs. Fiction”

  1. My mama had Alzheimer’s and we lost her in 2016. My dad, mama and my life changed drastically with that diagnosis. We still took her to get her hair done, my dad and myself would take her out to keep her walking because she always loved it. I laid on the bed with her the day she left us.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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