One of the principal issues connected to the process of aging is dementia, and this condition has a significant impact on the ability of a person to perform daily tasks. The main character of the movie The Savages faces this disease after the death of his wife and needs special attention from his two adult children. The emergence of this disease is a signal for immediate actions considering the support of the person and keeping them company.
Description of the Case
The condition of Lenny Savage, the main character, is worsening over time as he is suffering from dementia. The rapid progress of his disease is conditioned by the recent shock of the passing away of his wife (The Savages, 2007). His children show no affection as Lenny has never been a good father to them. Thus, he is deprived of the last possible company, and they make a decision to send him to a nursing home for other people to take care of the old man.
The impairments caused by dementia usually do not encourage the desire of a patient to communicate with others. Hence, all the spheres of his life, including the performance of daily activities and social participation, are limited (MacGill, 2017). What Lenny Savage needs is the continual care of nurses who provide for the better functioning of such a patient. Therefore, the support and care of medical personnel is the principal facilitator in the case of this patient.
Overview of the Movie
At the beginning of the movie, the children of Lenny Savage, Jon, and Wendy, come to visit him and make a decision on the care he requires. Despite the fact that they have negative feelings towards their father, the children choose a nursing facility close to New York, where they both live (The Savages, 2007). By doing this, they conclude that it is the best help they can provide for such a terrible father. In a while, Jon and Wendy start to have warmer feelings towards Lenny and support him the way they can.
The main idea of the film is to demonstrate how people without obvious affection for one another can still care about their family members. Jon and Wendy feel the stress of being under such circumstances, and they do not leave their father without help. In their case, the responsibility for the family is reflected in Wendy’s frequent visits to the nursing home where her father lives. The story ends with the reassessment of values by the main characters under the threat of Lenny’s death.
Theories covered in the movie
The theories that can be applied to the movie relate to the aging process as Lenny Savage was suffering from a disease conditioned by his age, together with the stress of losing his wife. This case is defined by the so-called disengagement theory, according to which the main cause of diseases for elderly people is their disengagement from society and the lack of communication with others (The functionalist perspective, 2017). Hence, the condition of Lenny Savage worsened because his children did not want to communicate with him until the situation became critical.
The lack of a person’s roles in society and refusal to participate in its activities are also the key factors that led to the further progression of Lenny’s dementia. Therefore, according to the activity theory, the failure to maintain social interactions and the roles of the patient as a husband or a father promoted the development of Lenny’s disease (The functionalist perspective, 2017). Some improvements happened only when he got to the nursing home to live with other people, and his children started to pay more attention to him.
All in all, once the evolution of a personality as an active participant in society stops, the reverse process begins. The continuity theory explains the impact of maintaining similar activities and behaviors on the progress of dementia (The functionalist perspective, 2019). Such influence of habits is explicitly demonstrated in the example of Lenny Savage, whose disease started to develop faster under the circumstances mentioned above.
In the case of any issues connected to the aging process, specific leisure interventions promote improvements in a patient’s conditions. Therefore, the children of Lenny Savage made some efforts to entertain him so that he would regain some sense of normal life. For instance, they spent some time together while taking him Christmas shopping (The Savages, 2007). The therapeutic benefits of such an approach turned out to be more important than the challenges of reuniting the family.
The story of Lenny Savage and his adult children from the movie The Savages demonstrates the benefits of communication for a treatment of such an aging disease as dementia. The support of relatives and medical personnel, as well as the company of other people, result in the possibility of regaining one’s life even with this irreversible diagnosis. Thus, the responsibility of people is the crucial factor that influences the outcome of an aging disease.
MacGill, M. (2017) ‘Dementia: symptoms, stages, and types’, Medical News Today. Web.
The functionalist perspective on aging (2017). Web.
The Savages (2007) Directed by Tamara Jenkins [Film]. Buffalo, New York, USA: Fox Searchlight Pictures.