Featured Stories

Daisy Duarte, in Springfield, Missouri, is caring for her mother, Sonia. Sonia was diagnosed with a genetic form of early-onset Alzheimer’s five years ago and is now almost completely helpless. Daisy also carries the gene, so she is witnessing her own future as she cares for her mother. A fighter, Daisy is determined to help herself and others by participating in a clinical trial at Washington University in St. Louis, and by lobbying congressional representatives in Washington, D.C.

Rick Shannon, in Tampa, Florida, is struggling with the emotional and financial realities of placing his mother Phyllis in a memory care facility. We follow Rick as he learns about, and is shocked by, the enormous cost that neither Medicare nor Medicaid can fully cover. We also see Rick dealing with the guilt he feels in breaking his promise to his father to keep Phyllis at home.

Jean Wheeler, in rural New Hampshire, learns from her physician that she has Alzheimer’s disease. Viewers hear public health officials describe the unique problems she and others in rural communities face where isolation compounds the difficulties of the disease and the risk of wandering off can be fatal.

Experts and governmental figures appearing in the film include:

  • Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Beau Ances, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Matthew Baumgart, Alzheimer’s Association
  • David Parris, Alzheimer’s Association
  • George Vradenburg, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s  
  • Dr. Stephen Bartels, The Dartmouth Institute
  • Steve Norton, New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies 
  • Dr. Shan Liu, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Senator Susan Collins (Maine - R)
  • Senator Ed Markey (Massachusetts - D)
  • Senator Mark Warner (Virginia - D)

Key Locations

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Resources of emergency rooms all over the U.S. are being strained not just by Alzheimer’s patients, but also by their caregivers who are becoming ill because of emotional and physical stress.

Alzheimer’s Association national helpline in Chicago. Staff members share information on the service they provide. Throughout the film, viewers hear emotion-filled calls into the helpline from family members asking for advice and assistance. 

Every Minute Counts DVD image from Shop PBS