Although mental and neurological diseases are a global health issue, the cultural stigmas and traditions of being Asian play a major factor in how they are dealt with in the community. This is particularly true of Alzheimer’s, a disease which affects millions of Asians, yet in most Asian countries and cultures, a word does not exist to describe the disease. To further complicate these cultural stigmas, at the center of Alzheimer’s lies the intersection where filial piety and stigma meet with a lack of understanding of mental diseases. Why is there such a lack of awareness of mental disease in the Asian community? What contributes to all the shame and embarrassment of these issues? How does this all affect Asian Americans who have been raised in a different environment as the elderly? Although this documentary focuses on Alzheimer’s, the themes of family, stigma, and awareness apply to many aspects of Asian culture and the growing tension between Asian Americans and their immigrant parents.
Trang Tu, an advocate for Asian funding and Alzheimer’s awareness in the community shares her emotional stories of being the full-time caregiver to her mom, who is living with Alzheimer’s. Trang has experienced the difficulties and pressures of caring for her mother as an Asian-American and dealt with a system that has not yet fully understood and provided the resources to minorities. These same topics are also discussed in the documentary with professional healthcare experts from various organizations and universities, including the Alzheimer’s Association, University of Washington, and the University of California, San Francisco.
Directed and Edited by Peter Trinh