One family’s very personal story of their father’s 33-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, and their long struggle to at first come to terms with him and then with one another.
It’s a story of a man’s courageous and stubborn determination to retain his independence even to the very end, and a loving family’s efforts to weather crisis after crisis as they watch the one they love slowly robbed of his ability to care for himself by this debilitating disease.
Time: 29 minutes
Louie, Louie: A Portrait of Parkinson’s has been awarded a Cine Golden Eagle.
Louie, Louie takes look at family and caregiving – August 8, 2006, Dallas Morning News
- When asked about what he would say to people just finding out that they have Parkinson, Louis states that he would tell them,
“You got a long road. A hard road. An ugly road. But make the best of it. You need a sense of humor. Have fun.”
- Would you agree with his advice?
- What surprised you when viewing Louis’ experience
of living with Parkinson’s disease?
- How would you describe his “long, hard and ugly
- How did he “make the best of it” and “what fun” was
evident in his story?
- What were the concepts associated with chronic illness/ disability/palliative care so apparent in Louis story?
- Describe Louis’ greatest physical and psychosocial challenges.
- How did he overcome or attempt to overcome these challenges?
- What typical signs and symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease did Louis exhibit?
- What medication side effect was the family least prepared to encounter?
- Examine adaptive/coping responses by Louis in his will to survive.
- Provide specific examples to support your answer.
- What did his family have to say about his
- Depending on your specific discipline, identify priority concerns/issues related to Louis’ diagnosis.
- What therapeutic interventions would you suggest to
address these concerns/issues?
- What specific education would you include in Louis plan
of care in promoting his health and the health of his family?
- Identify a common theme that appeared to assist Louis during this time of his life.
- Examine the sources of support for Louis that are apparent
in the film. Describe a scene in the film that readily exemplifies his support system.
- Discuss Louis’ statement, “A man should be able to do what
he wants to do and when he can’t function and live a good
quality life, then it time to say good bye”.
- How would you evaluate Louis’ quality of life?
- Discuss how your philosophy of life agrees or differs
- The rabbi introduces us to Louis’ life by using the analogy of his always humming a tune as a symphony of his life.
- Create a metaphor (symbol, image) for Louis story.
- Draw /Explain your metaphor.
- If you were to give Louis’ story another title: • What would that be? • What is the rationale for your choice?
11.Bruce (his son) discusses that his father only trusted immediate family; Ann and Cynthia (his daughters) dialogue about his living alone.
- What environmental concerns or issues would you
address in working with Louis and his family during
his socialization into the community and living alone?
- What recommendations would you make to attend to
these concerns or issues?
- What new opportunities did Louis’ journey provide for him that gave meaning and joy to his life?
- In the movie, there are many pictures of Louis and his family. Discuss his role change as his life progressed.
- At the National Parkinson’s Foundation website, they suggest “maintaining a positive attitude is one of the healthiest things you can do in response to a diagnosis of Parkinson disease”.
- In what ways did Louis reflect a positive attitude?
- Describe Louis’ family’s response to his health status.
- Discuss the family dynamics when Ann was talking to Cynthia about the responsibilities of care giving and how angry she was with her siblings for depriving her of
experiences with her own children.
- How would you intervene if requested to assist the
Salzman family with the challenges of care giving?
- What strategies could you suggest for children not living in close proximity to a loved one that can ease the strain
of the primary caregiver in providing care?
- Discuss how the events in Louis’ life affected his family
and their relationship to each other.
- At the end of his life, Louis whispers to his family to “let me go”.
- His daughter states she is not sure that they did the right
thing (not putting their father on life support).
- How would you respond to her statement?
- What did you learn about yourself from viewing Louie,
- How will you use your personal insight gained from
Louis’ story in your professional practice?
Click here to download the discussion guide for Louie, Louie: A Portrait in Parkinsons.
Louie, Louie: A Portrait in Parkinson’s is an extremely powerful documentary putting special emphasis on spouses and children in the role of caregivers. It is a great catalyst for group discussion and especially beneficial for neurology students in training. – Dr. Daniel Tarsy, Vice Chairman, Dept. of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
This film shows the effects of a degenerative illness (Parkinson’s disease) and what it takes in courage and humor for each member of the family to make it through. Essential viewing for all health care professionals involved in the care of long-term illness. – Delaina Walker-Batson, Director, The Stroke Center-Dallas, Texas Woman’s University
The video Louie, Louie: A Portrait In Parkinson’s is very enlightening for Parkinson’s patients and caregivers alike.
It shows the struggle that those affected by Parkinson’s endure on a day-to-day basis and also the trials and heartache that caregivers experience.
I would recommend it for both patients and caregivers. – Etta Slaughter RN, BSN, M.Ed. Manager, Staff Development, The Visiting Nurse Association of Texas
A powerful intimate portrait that touches on caregiver issues, this film is highly recommended. – Video Librarian
I wish someone had shown me a film like this early in my professional career – Sandra Curtis, Speech Language Pathologist, The Stroke Center-Dallas
Louie, Louie: A Portrait in Parkinson’s is a poignant, honest, real-life experience of what it means to encounter a life changing illness in the family.
This film invokes greater understanding, not only of the trajectory of his illness, but of the complexity of family relationships throughout life. I highly recommend Louie, Louie. – Janet Dahm, Associate Professor of Nursing, Saint Xavier University
This film puts a witty face to a tragic disease, making this intimate portrayal in Parkinson’s shine all the more. Thanks to Louie’s sense of humor and striking character, this enlightening film reminds audiences of how important it is to find a cure. – Kathleen McInnis, Programming Director, Palm Springs, International Festival of Short Film
I have seen many personal portraits and this is one of the strongest — you will be very moved. Allen and Cynthia are real treasures to the Dallas area.. – Bart Weiss, Festival Director, Dallas Video Festival