Alzheimers and Three Coins in the Fountain

I've recently gotten very into old movies. Old as in from the 40s or 50s? It started with my basic obsession with Audrey Hepburn.  Andrew and I also just watched Casablanca for the first time this weekend. Who knew Humphrey Bogart said "Here's looking at you kid" multiple times during that movie?

One day, when I was home at my parents' house, I started playing "How To Steal A Million" on Netflix while I was sitting with my grandma.  Due to her Alzheimer's, she typically doesn't take too much of an interest in anything on TV because she can never really remember what she's watching.

Once "How To Steal A Million" started playing, she was immediately engrossed in the movie. She was actively following the plot, kept reminding me that this was a movie "from her time," and was feeling good that she could remember Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.  I thought Netflix would have had a vaster selection of these classic movies, but alas, no other Audrey movies are left on their queue.  I had seen Breakfast at Tiffany's moved to Hulu, but I couldn't find it again there either. That left me browsing for something else to watch with my grandma the next time.

Enter the film "Three Coins in the Fountain" whose theme song is the named the same by Frank Sinatra. My grandfather was a big Sinatra guy- he even wore fedoras on a daily basis. I hadn't seen the film before, but the opening credits are long pans of Rome, which excited my grandma because she had apparently visited before with my grandpa.  Once the theme music/song started playing, she started saying the words in the verses almost a full beat ahead of Frank, as if telling him what words he should be singing next. I found this very endearing, as if she was trying to prove to me and anyone else that she did in fact know the words to this song and didn't need Frank to sing them to her.

via Netflix

She loves this movie, I think especially because of the song. Now, whenever I'm at my parents' and my mom wants to leave me with her, I turn this movie on.  Plus, the more we play it for her the more she remembers it. She can see it on and almost immediately remember that the movie is "Three Coins in the Fountain," even though none of the actresses in it are very well known (at least to me).  Every time, I can see that it takes her back to a happier time that still lives in her memory, just like the song lyrics.  Now I will always associate this Sinatra song with her.

Nothing too exciting, but can be a little morsel of help for others who are affected by Alzheimer's as well.  It's at least something to hold their attention for a while, something more than the daily news or a soap opera whose storylines they won't be able to follow.  Putting on a familiar movie (especially one with a memorable song), from a time that they still hold in their memory, can help to temporarily bring back a person they once were.


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