A Journey with Alzheimer's Disease

Brenda Siemer: Producer/Co-Director


In 1985 I had written the story of my mother, Ellamae Siemer's 16 year journey with Alzheimer's disease. It had begun when I was merely 25 years old.

At 40 I realized she would soon be gone. I determined to write a monologue and raise the money I would need to make a documentary about my years with her. In those days the word Alzheimer’s was not well known nor understood. I knew our story could help other caregivers who were experiencing the confusion we both knew.

And so, over a four year period to raise the money I wrote foundation proposals, begged, secured 16 mm film tails from studios and made it happen. Through my friend’s film expertise and generosity I put together a crew and a three day shoot, followed by a seven month edit! To every one of those friends and contributors I remain so grateful. I Know a Song came to life. A 23 minute short. It is a story of how we lost her memory, but the love survives.



“With exquisite rhythm and timing, Brenda Siemer orchestrates the story of her mother’s disease. Her presence is striking in its lack of sentimentality, and yet so loving. This film ennobles and empowers. It models a new, more healing way of embracing parental aging and disease.
Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Is a life long advocate for women’s health and wellness, first as a practicing OB/GYN physician for 25 years and now as an internationally respected writer and speaker. Her books have been translated into twenty four languages. She is a multiple New York Times best-selling author.
“A personal film that exemplifies the bravery that no human being is ever really lost, regardless of how far away they seem.”
Shirley MacLaine
Academy Award winning actress, dancer, singer and activist. She is also a prolific writer. In 2013 she received the Kennedy Center Honors.
“A very real and poignant portrait of the paradox of life and death that goes hand in hand within an Alzheimer’s patient. Unexpectedly upbeat … a tribute to your mother … love is worth it.”
Catherine C Goodman, D.SW.
Director, Care-Line, Andrus Gerontalogy Center USC
Shooting with Co-Director Peter Flood
“I KNOW A SONG is an intimate glimpse into how a mother and daughter learned to embrace the unexpected, inherent in Alzheimer’s disease. The film is about the power of caring, and how it links us to a world beyond these walls. It touchingly documents an ultimate acceptance of the disease, and validates the dedication of Alzheimer’s care providers everywhere.”
John A. Jager
Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter
PBS, The Epcot Center , CT Canadian Television and The Learning Channel
The American Film & Video Festival in 1988
First prize in geriatrics at The American Journal of Nursing Media Festival
FInalist – The Dallas Film Festival
Albert Einstein College of Medicine – for the Pathologists in Alzheimer’s
USIA United States Information Agency Tour of Norway, Sweden, Finland
Running time: 23 minutes