The Road Trip that Connected the Dementia Caregiver Community
The Road Trip that Connected the Dementia Caregiver Community with Kitty Norton, Filmmaker of "Wine, Women, & Dementia"
"One thing is for sure: no one plans on being a dementia caregiver when they grow up," said Kitty Norton, a filmmaker and director of "Wine, Women, and Dementia". Her first feature film, a documentary reveals the profound burden that family caregivers shoulder as they care for their loved ones with dementia. This burden includes isolation, financial strain, and physical and emotional exhaustion that affect both the caregiver and the care recipient.
Kitty Norton, a former family caregiver to her mom, decided to embark on a cross-country RV journey to visit five other caregivers who she had formed a close bond with through their shared experiences. Despite having only interacted online, their in-person meeting allowed them to share deeply personal and humorous stories about their lives as caregivers. Through their stories, the documentary "Wine, Women, and Dementia" provides a raw and honest portrayal of the realities of caring for someone with dementia, including both the challenges and moments of beauty. Ultimately, the film celebrates the themes of perseverance, devotion, and the importance of finding joy in the difficult journey of caring for a loved one with dementia.
In an interview, Kitty and I talk about her inspiration behind the film, what motivated her to create a space for caregivers to feel acknowledged, how we can come together through our common experiences and emotions as caregivers, and how storytelling helps caregivers feel connected to each other and build a sense of community. We also discuss the challenges and barriers that caregivers can face when they seek support, how caregivers can be encouraged to live out loud and share their stories and experiences with others, and how it benefits our caregiver community. We look at how the film industry can better represent the experiences of caregivers, and all the details about filming, including what it was like meeting everybody for the first time and where the journey took them.
This film is a true representation of what an estimated 16 million unpaid dementia family caregivers go through. Kitty says it has been "a road trip connecting a disconnected community because until there's a cure, there's community". Thank you, Kitty, for making this film, for your honesty, your humor and for persevering to see this vision come to life!
Kitty shares about:
The inspiration behind the film
Creating a space for caregivers to feel acknowledged
Connecting through common experiences and emotions
Storytelling helps caregivers feel connected and build a community
Challenges and barriers that caregivers can face when seeking support
Encouraging caregivers to share their stories and experiences
Benefits of sharing for the caregiver community
Improving the representation of caregivers in the film industry
Details about filming, including the first meeting and journey
Wednesday, April 26 - Sunday, April 30, 2023
Various venues in downtown Dubuque, Iowa
Wine, Women, & Dementia will screen twice!
April 27, 2023 @ 3:00pm: Tickets
555 John F Kennedy Road Unit 105, Dubuque, IA
April 29, 2023 @ 11:00am: Tickets
Hotel Julien Dubuque - Ballroom
200 Main St, Dubuque, IA
About Kitty Norton & Wine, Women & Dementia
In 2016, Kitty Norton left her job as an NBC assistant editor in Los Angeles, CA for her hometown of Portland, OR to walk, stumble, crawl with her dementia mother to death’s door. While doing so, she authored the dementia caregiver blog Stumped Town Dementia, writing tales of dementia life, not dementia death, which resonated deeply with readers around the world. Kitty directed, filmed, and edited numerous short videos to commemorate dementia life with her mother Gloria, for the blog. When Gloria died in 2021, Kitty was compelled to make Wine, Women, and Dementia, her first feature film - to honor this journey with her mother, to spread awareness of the caregiver side of the equation in dementia, and to let other dementia households know they are not alone, that they are worthy of being seen and celebrated as they slog alongside their dementia person to the end of life.
Wine, Women & Dementia SYNOPSIS: Former dementia family caregiver, Kitty Norton, set off on a cross-country RV adventure to meet five dementia family caregivers who had become close, online friends through their shared care experiences. Meeting in-person for the first time, they share intimate, humorous, heartfelt stories providing a vivid picture of dementia life through the lens of the family caregivers who have come to accept the beauty and the brutality, the hilarious and the horrific - for themselves and their dementia person. Wine, Women, and Dementia explores the themes of perseverance, familial devotion, and most importantly how to celebrate life on a long road to death.
*This episode is brought to you by Gigi Betty co. A boutique gift shop raising awareness and funds for caregivers and care partners. Show now at www.gigibettyco.com. Use the special code WILLGATHER20 for 20% off your order- Just for our podcast listeners!
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