On Sunday, HBO will premiere the first installment of a documentary series on Alzheimer’s Disease:

While there is no cure for the disease, THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT shows there is now genuine reason to be optimistic about the future. Created by the award-winning team behind HBO’s acclaimed “Addiction” project, this multi-platform series takes a close look at groundbreaking discoveries made by the country’s leading scientists, as well as the effects of this debilitating and fatal disease both on those with Alzheimer’s and on their families. Scientific research is gaining momentum in discovering ways to treat and possibly prevent Alzheimer’s. Aiming to bring a new understanding, THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT features a four-part documentary series, 15 short supplemental films, a robust website, and a nationwide community-based information and outreach campaign.

Provided they have HBO, I imagine that many Schweitzer Fellows and Fellows for Life will be tuning in — among them 2008-09 Boston Fellow Elexa Waugh-Quasebarth, of Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation.

Last night at our Boston Program’s celebration of service, I had the honor of hearing Elexa speak about her Schweitzer project. Elexa collaborated with the veterans and staff at Chelsea Soldier’s Home to develop an unrestrictive arts program for aged veterans with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s. Her project incorporated input from experts in the field of fine arts, therapeutic arts, occupational therapy, and long term dementia care — and the artwork and healing Elexa facilitated was deeply moving.

A 2006-2007 Schweitzer Fellow, David Nawrocki of the MGH Institute for Health Professions, might also be tuning in. David worked with the Kit Clark Senior Services Center to improve community access to Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver information, organizing and facilitating patient and caregiver support group meetings in underserved Boston communities.

And 2007-2008 Chicago Schweitzer Fellow Lisa Reyes, of Rush University, is another likely viewer. She worked with the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to perform patient, caregiver, and community education; one-on-one reminiscing; patient screening; activity/memory loss groups; and respite care.

“Entourage” and “Sex and the City” have their escapist charms — but especially for Alzheimer’s caregivers (and those like our Fellows, who work to support and advocate for them), I have a feeling that “The Alzheimer’s Project” will take the HBO throne.

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