A Glimpse of Hope: New Documentary Explores Stories Aging and Dementia

Keys Bags Names Words will be screened in 90 cities and in more than 25 countries worldwide in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

“Every one of us has a story to tell. And some of us need our story heard.” 

This reflection is offered by Karin Diamond — artistic director and Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health — at the outset of Keys Bags Names Words, a new documentary film about hope and aging in dementia. Throughout September, the film will be screened more than 90 times in 25+ countries worldwide in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21, including its US premiere on September 7. 

Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Cynthia Stone, Keys Bags Names Words is an inspiring lens portraying stories of both the personal and global impacts of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, while following a cohort of young scientists and artists from around the world — including several Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health—as they harness creativity, humor and compassion to lead the way towards hope and resilience.  

As global populations age, the number of people living with dementia grows, tripling by 2050 to 152 million—overwhelming families, communities, public health care systems and economies worldwide. This film is intended to create a shift. A shift in thinking among those who have dementia from hopelessness to optimism and action for a higher quality of life. A shift for carers from loss and despair to connection. A shift towards prevention and knowing how to keep our brains healthy. And a shift that comes from real people sharing their experiences—the funny, the angry, the sad, the powerful—and finding ways we can be less afraid and more inclusive.  

The inspiration for Keys Bags Names Words came from the “hear/say” oral history project at the Global Brain Health Insitute (GBHI). The wide range of personal stories in the project, including those from Atlantic Fellows, provided the basis for this hopeful and moving look at families around the world and how they approach aging and brain health. 

Director Cynthia Stone sees the film as an inspiring testament to the human spirit, and its purpose to serve as an advocacy tool. “We want to give people tools to connect,” Stone says, “to lessen stigma, to care for their own brain health, and to see the extraordinary work being done to address this global challenge.” 

To learn more about the film and screening opportunities, visit www.KeysBagsNamesWords.com