The TV gods have decreed that this is your week to learn about Alzheimer's.
HBO is airing a three-part series on the illness accompanied by a two-part supplementary series "Momentum in Science," which includes 15 sections on various aspects of the causes and possible preventive measures for Alzheimer's.
See http://www.hbo.com/alzheimers/index.html. (You can click on the title above "Alzheimer's on HBO" to get to the website.)
Tonight on the west coast, the shows begin at 7:30 pm and 8 pm. They are repeated all week and also available through HBO On Demand and by streaming from the above website.
I missed the last big documentary, Addiction, because we didn't have HBO, so I bought the DVD edition. But now we have not only not killed our television but subscribed to an even greater selection of cable channels, including HBO.
None of last night's first section, "The Memory Loss Tapes," was new to me, as a veteran of four years' visits to the dementia floor of an assisted living residence.
It was moving, nonetheless, especially the woman tormented by the hallucination of a snake on her wheelchair (as my mother saw worms coming out of the fire sprinkler on her ceiling).
She also talks to her "neighbor" in the mirror and wonders why she is so silent and won't ever come to her room to visit.
I was surprised that HBO filmed and aired the actual death of one gentleman, after showing video and photos of his entire life. It was a gentle death, much like my mother's, but surprising on television nonetheless, followed by his funeral complete with open-casket viewing.
If Alzheimer's or another dementia runs in your family, this is an easy way to learn more about it.