As I witnessed the slow decline of my grandmother from Alzheimer’s disease, I realized with sorrow that there was no hope of a cure for her. She would spend the rest of her life in the prison of her deteriorating mind, freed only by her own passing. I had to accept the sad fact that there is no healing for anyone with this cruel disease, at least not yet. At the same time, I began a determined journey to discover what was possible—to find what positive steps might indeed be taken to help my grandmother and others like her.
If you are reading this introduction, chances are that you too are facing a similar difficult life experience. You may have a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s disease or with another related dementia. You may be a caregiver in a nursing facility or at home. Hard as it has been, I now think of my own voyage facing my grandmother’s diagnosis, as a gift. I gratefully consider all that I have learned, the many amazing people I have met and worked with, and our collective accomplishments in developing MemoryLane. MemoryLane is not a cure, but it is a proven, effective method of palliative care. Our goal at MemoryLane is to share these findings with you, so all who need them may benefit from them.
As a filmmaker I began creating and gathering moments on film for her that would honor her individuality, dignity, inner beauty, and rich life experience. I thought perhaps these films could provide her with a sense of purpose and meaning—or at least a soothing respite—even as the disease progressed. When I saw the positive effect these films had on my grandmother, I realized they might have a much wider use.
To develop and test this idea, and to see it through to wide success with many patients and their caregivers, I have worked with an extraordinary, multidisciplinary group of dedicated colleagues. On this team are physicians, gerontologists, therapists, filmmakers, musicians, and specialists in the field of multisensory stimulation. In addition, many experts devoted to the care of Alzheimer’s patients have come on board to run trials at prestigious institutions, both in Europe and in the United States, and to offer invaluable suggestions that have helped to refine and improve MemoryLane. We have collaboratively pooled our vast and divergent areas of knowledge, and pushed each other to think creatively, keep going, and remain always alert in the search for innovative solutions. The result is MemoryLane.
There is a future for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. Like my beautiful grandmother, a person with dementia is first a person, with his or her own unique story. They still have a lot to share. With kindness, sensitivity and the appropriate tools, we can reduce their stress and agitation. We can improve the quality of their lives and our own.
Fierce courage to us all.
Alban Maino – Founder of Memory Lane
Dreamland Technology: Dreamland Technology LLC is a media company founded in 2012 in France and subsequently relocated to and incorporated in Portland, Maine in 2013. Memory Lane Therapeutics is a unit of Dreamland Technology created for the purpose of researching and developing non-pharmaceutical, media-based therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The unit’s primary product is named Memory-Lane.Tv, a subscription-based service for the delivery of the dementia therapies and entertainment to institutional settings and family residences. It operates under the Fiscal sponsorship of a 501C3, the Portland Media Center, historical partner of our cause.