Friends With Benefits and Alzheimer’s Disease…

………………………….Can make for a pretty complicated relationship.

Actually, I just saw the comedy Friends With Benefits last night and wanted to share because the movie touches on Alzheimer’s disease…………. Now, most times, I take issue with how news, movies and TV shows portray dementia……………… they typically avoid the grotesque, that is, the disease is wrapped up in a nice pretty bow at the end of the program…… like it’s actually a problem that can be solved.

For me, that’s just plain irritating.

In Friends With Benefits, Justin Timberlake’s father, played by Richard Jenkins, has Alzheimer’s disease and he actually has a challenging behavior: he takes off his pants in public. Part of the storyline (besides the obvious, beneficial, one) involves Dylan (JT) coming to terms with his dad’s diagnosis and behavior……………. Yes, the father has more lucid moments than not, and in those lucid moments, he’s incredibly wise, kind-hearted and ultimately helps his son make the right choice when it comes to love; however, what I liked was that the film (albeit briefly) addressed the toll on young adult children………… Dylan lives in New York, his father lives with his daughter in Los Angeles — there’s an inner conflict; Dylan’s feelings of embarrassment, especially when out in public; Dylan’s heartache at losing another parent (his mother left the family 10 years earlier); Dylan accepting and coming to terms with that which he cannot fix………….. he finally steps into his father’s world and walks around in his shoes.

The movie is out on Netflix and on DVD… it’s a fun flick and it made me laugh, so check it out if you can.



  1. i appreciate your recommendation and comments about the film. i’ll check it out and recommend it to friends i know who are supporting family members with symptoms. much gratitute 2 u for your openness.

    i just got a copy of a book called “trauma stewardship: an everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others” and am checking it out. i work in behavioral health programs where trauma is soooooo common among people receiving as well as offering services – me too. i have perspectives and practices that REALLY help me – and it’s pretty intense lately.

    i also got a short new book out by jack kornfield with a few meditations. candle is in the title and it’s related to dealing wth challenges. i love his voice and heart=full being.

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