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Teen's Interview With His Grandma Reveals Harsh Realities of Alzheimer's Disease

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Justin Boswick sees film as more than just a storytelling medium — he views it as a way to make a difference.

The 17-year-old from Medford Lakes, New Jersey, recently created “The Word Search,” a short five-minute documentary (video below) about his family’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease and a loving tribute to his grandmother.

The film centers on Justin’s interviews with Dorothy Landis, his grandmother who lives with Alzheimer’s disease, and Jennifer Boswick, Justin’s mother and Landis’s daughter. A third interviewee, Krista McCay, is the Director of Programs and Services at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Against a backdrop of old family photographs, video footage and snapshots of Landis’s current room in an assisted living home, Justin asks his grandmother questions about her previous years. He and his mother show her old photographs to try and trigger memories, but she has difficulty remembering and discussing them.

“Do you know that you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?” Justin asks his grandmother in the film.

“No, I don’t know anything about that,” she replies.

Justin told The Burlington County Times he enjoys making films that resonate emotionally with viewers. He hopes the documentary helps people learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how severely it can affect families.

“You’d be hard pressed to meet someone and they say they have no idea what Alzheimer’s is or that they haven’t been impacted at all,” McCay says in the documentary. “Whether it’s a grandmother, an uncle, a mother or a father, somebody knows somebody with the disease.”

Watch the documentary in its entirety below.

“The Word Search” will be screened at the Princeton Student Film and Video Festival on July 23. It was one of 24 films selected from more than 200 submissions.

Originally published: July 9, 2015
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