Silverville Review: Golden Girls
SILVERVILLE: Wednesday 2nd September, BBC One, 10.55pm ALERT ME
Everybody has days where they say to themselves, ‘My memory is so bad, I can’t even remember what I did yesterday.’
But what if we said that every day?
That’s what it means to have Alzheimer’s.
This is the focus of the final episode in the ‘Silverville’ series co-produced by the Open University.
Over the previous 5 episodes, Silverville has been a window into the lives of the elderly residents of Lovat Fields Retirement Village in Milton Keynes.
We’ve seen romance, friendships and the vitality that some of the villagers still possess.
This week we follow 70 year old, Eileen Ager as she struggles daily with Alzheimer’s disease. I feel I must warn you that, because of the general attitude towards age in this country, there’s a chance you’ll find this episode very difficult to watch, but it is sorely needed.
Watching Eileen remember pieces of her childhood but completely forgetting how to cook anything is very upsetting and thankfully the filmmakers are very tactful about the subject.
Eileen was a girl guide in her youth and spent many years travelling the world and making friends but now she struggles to microwave a meal for herself. Luckily, Lovat Fields looks so nice that it’s the kind of place that most of us would like to end up in.
Warm and friendly; the staff are there to help with anything their patrons require. And Eileen requires a lot as there is more to her condition than memory loss. She has often been caught walking around at night, confused and partially clothed which not only is inconvenient to the other residents but puts Eileen in danger.
Barely able to do anything for herself and without a husband or family, she relies heavily on her friend Linda. Though it doesn’t seem to trouble Linda too much to help Eileen, she does have a full time job.
While the show doesn’t intend it, seeing how much Linda cares for Eileen and working at the same time makes the viewer feel guilty for not doing the same in our own lives.
A real tear-jerking moment is when Eileen talks about having to remind herself that her parents are dead. It’s hard to imagine having to do this but to Eileen it’s emotional and necessary.
Her story is handled carefully and refuses to give into temptation of patronising someone who can be so childlike.
She also explains that treating her like a child is not the answer and that she can take care of herself. Though it’s not true, her defiance is impressive and makes us hope that if we were in her shoes we’d have the same spirit.
These ladies might not be 70 but they’re no spring chickens: Real Housewives Of New Jersey! And Summer may be over but we’re in love with (500) Days Of Summer!