Social Psychological Theories in Late Adulthood - Analysis of the Film the Notebook Using Social Psychological Theories

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NOVEMBER 11, 2012

Analysis of the film The Notebook using Social Psychological Theories
The Notebook is a movie that gives us a bittersweet insight into the lives of an elderly married couple. The movie begins in a nursing home where an older gentleman is reading to an elderly woman who we later figure out is Noah and Allie. Allie the main character is afflicted with Alzheimer's and Noah who we later find out is Allies husband, is reading to her the story of their love. With Alzheimer's, at first, recent memory is the most impaired, but as serious disorientation sets in, recall of distant events and such basic facts as time, dates and places evaporates (Berk, pg. 458). We find out that Noah is force to make the decision and place Allie in a nursing home. And because he cannot bear the thought of leaving her side, chooses to live at the nursing home as well. Among aging, dementia-especially Alzheimer's disease-most often leads to nursing home placement (Berk, pg. 462). Even though Allie is in the Alzheimer's unit at the nursing home Noah still bears the burden as her caregiver. Dementia caregivers devote substantially more time to caregiving and experience more stress than do people caring for elders with physical disabilities (Alzheimer's Association, 2009)(Berk, pg. 460).
With the disease being in its advanced stages, her brain ceased to process information, and she can no longer recognize objects and familiar people (Berk, pg. 458) giving her no recollection of family members or her life in general. Her husband Noah, whom she also does not recognize, reads to her daily from a journal she had wrote in the beginning stages of her disease of the wonderful life they shared hoping to regain a few moments of their life together, however Allie believes it to be story about another couple. I believe they have reached the last and final stage of Erikson's theory integrity verses despair. At this point I believe Noah has come to terms with his life, arriving at a sense of integrity feeling whole, complete, and satisfied with his achievements, adapting to inevitable triumphs and disappointments and realizing that the paths they had followed, abandoned, and never selected were necessary for fashioning a meaningful life course (Berk, pg .474). And although the doctors express there is little chance of her remembering, every once in a while she does, but only for a few minutes and then it's gone and the severity of the disease is shown by the state of confusion Allie is thrown back into. Having to witness these abrupt and aggressive behaviors, are not only devastating, but place an enormous amount of stress on Noah. As the disease progresses doctors prescribe a mild sedative and an antidepressant to help to control her behavior. Drugs that increase levels of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin show promise in limited challenging dementia symptoms-especially agitation and disruptive behaviors, which are particularly stressful for caregivers (Berk, pg. 460). Although the occasions when Allie does regain her memory are growing more limited, Noah continues his daily readings in hopes that he may enjoy even a few moments where Allie comes back to him.

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