As the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast takes a week off to ring in the New Year 2022, we present an encore of our Nov. 19, 2021 program with Dr. Jessica Zitter, director and producer of the documentary, Caregiver: A Love Story.
Over the past decade, we’ve gotten better at caring for the dying. But now we have a new crisis on our hands: the plight of those who care for them. Caregiver: A Love Story highlights an essential, yet largely unseen workforce—the family caregivers of America.
While most documentary films about death focus on people who are dying, Caregiver: A Love Story directs our attention to the millions of family caregivers who support them at home.
When 59-year-old Bambi decides to forgo further treatment for her cancer and die at home, her husband Rick leaves his job to become her primary caregiver—a role for which he has no experience and little support.
Their journey begins on a high note. Her pain is finally under control and family and friends flock to her bedside. Death may be fast-approaching, but there is an air of celebration, even optimism. The atmosphere changes quickly when family members must return to their homes abroad and Rick is left to manage Bambi’s growing needs on his own. Without a full night’s sleep in months, the around-the-clock responsibilities eventually send Rick into a state of physical, financial, and emotional exhaustion.
Caregiver: A Love Story challenges viewers to acknowledge the growing strain placed on family caregivers and to envision a new approach.
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About the Guest
Dr. Jessica Zitter
Dr. Zitter practices critical and palliative care medicine at a public hospital in Oakland, California. She is a passionate advocate for humanism in medicine, utilizing her broad platform as a speaker, writer, and producer of media.
Dr. Zitter is the author of Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, which chronicles her personal evolution as a physician. It’s stories depict the burdens placed on patients and families as they approach the end of life in our ICUs and hospitals.
Her work is featured in the Netflix short-documentary Extremis, which was nominated for an Oscar and two Emmys in 2017.
She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, and her articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Washington Post and many other publications. Dr. Zitter is the founder of the Jessica Zitter Media Project, a non-profit organization that uses storytelling to enhance the medical care of patients with serious and end-stage illness.