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Caregivers - Episode Five: Paul and Jean

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Sometimes Paul Oliver has to laugh to keep from crying. He's placed his mother, Jean, in a nursing home that cares for Alzheimer's patients. With bewildered fellow residents constantly interrupting and Jean's own erratic behaviour, Paul finds it hard to have a quiet moment with his mother. Yet he knows that his company and attention are vital to her.

Like all of the heroes in the Caregivers series, Paul is doing his best. Although he works full-time and lives an hour away, he still visits twice a week. Jean does not like the nursing home and she is often depressed. Her anger is vented on anyone near, including Paul. At other times Jean can be lucid and make Paul laugh with her sharp comments about fellow residents.

Produced with the help of individual caregivers and community agencies, this is a 'how-to' series with soul. Shot over the course of a year, these five episodes immerse you in the joys and sorrows of providing care. The caregivers featured in the series are honest and open about their feelings--and their eloquent insights offer an assessment of our health-care system's strengths and weaknesses.

What Paul finds most difficult is his mother's increasing memory loss. He's aware that, in time, she won't remember him at all, and he's determined to make the most of his visits. As Paul says, 'I try to make her laugh. I try to make whatever length of time she has left enjoyable.'

1997, 50 min 04 s

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