about the film

The forgotten ones.

 
 

Relatives of Alzheimer's & Dementia victims call themselves members of “the club no one wants to join.”  The Caregivers' Club steps inside the private lives of four families as they navigate through heartbreak with humour and frustration.  It’s an inspiring journey of love, loss and letting go that thousands of families will be forced to take as their family members age.

In The Caregivers' Club you’ll get to know four middle-aged caregivers – Domenic, Karen, Susan and Barbara – each taking care of a spouse or parent, who can no longer take care of themselves. All four are connected to Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto where occupational therapist Nira Rittenberg provides advice, support, and consolation. All take you far beyond the practical problems of navigating a seemingly fickle healthcare system and into the psychological challenges of coping with the deterioration of their loved ones. Their stories unfold over a one-year period as they navigate the erratic stages of this cruel and relentless disease.

They are called the forgotten ones because despite all the media coverage of dementia, those who actually care for loved ones at home or accompany them through institutional life, are largely ignored or taken for granted. They are the unseen and unsung everyday heroes who manage, in surprising ways, to stay strong and carry on without appreciation from society -- or even their own relatives.

Despite hardships, these four caregivers learn to cope with compassion, perseverance and wit. One caregiver says, “I always knew I was in this for the long haul. I love my husband dearly. He’s still my soul mate.” Another says, “Love doesn’t make it easier: it just keeps you there.” Another says, with a laugh, “What sustains me? Living in denial.”

The Caregivers' Club is a candid, intimate portrait of their daily struggles with a disease that steals the personality -- the very soul -- of the ones they love.   It is a compelling and cautionary tale, one that’s only just beginning for an entire generation.

 
Love doesn’t make it easier, it just keeps you there.
— Angie Cramarossa , Caregiver
 
 Barbara Schechter with  her mother Donna   

Barbara Schechter with  her mother Donna