Celebrity Health

Still Alice: A Touching and Raw Portrayal of Alzheimer's Disease

Wendy Mitchell: An Alzheimer's patient from the premiere of "Still Alice"

Wendy Mitchell was at the premiere of “Still Alice” that opened in London, England. Mitchell was diagnosed at 58 with early onset Alzheimer’s. She had always kept very good care of herself and worked as an NHS manager. Mitchell tells her story by starting off with when she first came out of her office and just stood in the doorway, not remembering what she was doing there in the first place. Mitchell had no idea where she was. She heard voices in the hallways, but did not know to whom they belonged. After her diagnosis, Mitchell discovered that her mobile phone was her lifeline.

Mitchell still works full-time and is supported by her daughters. She feels guilt and remorse for the worry she is causing them, and Mitchell worries daily about what will happen when she looks at her daughters and can’t remember them.

Alzheimer’s carries a stereotypical image, which often makes people back away when they realize someone has the disease. It is almost like they feel the disease can be passed on by just shaking hands. Ms. Mitchell is starting to experience this reaction from people who she thought were part of her support group.