Susie Singer Carter Explores Dementia in Film and Podcast

By Susie Singer Carter

Disease is an equal-opportunity beast. At some point in everyone’s life, someone they love is going to be stricken with something. And it can cripple not only the person suffering the disease, but the people who love them.

I want to try to prevent that.

Sixteen years ago, my mother, Norma, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, like so many people, I had no clue what the future truly held. My mother had always been a vibrant, independent, caregiving wife, mother, and daughter. A dynamic force. And my best friend. We were so close, I actually believed I could simply “talk her out of” Alzheimer’s.

It’s okay. You can laugh. I do every time I think about it!

Ultimately, I accepted the hard, immutable facts, and embarked on what has turned out to be a very long journey that started off wrought with fear, obligation, confusion, loneliness, and guilt.

After making every mistake in the book, I made a conscious choice to stop beating myself up and lean into my strengths. My mom and I share a deep love for laughter and music. Consequently, they became the best tools in my caregiver arsenal.

I also realized that if we were going take this trip together, I would need to adjust my perception and lean into my mother’s strengths. Meet her wherever she was on her journey. That decision was the key that opened the door for a windfall of unexpected gifts of love, insight, and gratitude.

One gift arrived the year my mother lived with me. The year I helped her “cross over the bridge.” The year I became a single mother. The year I call my best… and my worst. It was an extraordinary event that was the engine for my short film, My Mom and The Girl starring the amazing Valerie Harper in her final performance.

As a storyteller, I know that films are powerful tools of change, and I was determined to make an effort to pull back the curtain and demystify a disease that suffers a tragic cultural discourse.

The story is based on an evening my mother roamed the streets of East L.A. in an attempt to “go home.” It’s a funny, poignant, and completely true story of unlikely friendships and wisdom emanating from a woman who is literally losing her mind. Three disparate women who had a unique and powerful impact on each other, and whose apparent burdens can be seen as gifts.

Of course, my mother’s disease has been challenging. But it has also been positively life altering and, dare I say, joyous. While Alzheimer’s continues to relentlessly rob my mother of her precious memories and skills, it has been powerless when it comes to her soul.

My Mom and The Girl opens with my voice-over introducing my mother as “the love of my life.” To which my mother (Valerie Harper) responds with a resounding, “Bitch!!” It’s a moment that always gets a laugh.

Not a cheap laugh. A relief laugh. A permission to laugh. That’s the gift.

My Mom and The Girl screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide, including Cannes, earning dozens of major awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Ensemble, to name a few) and achieved an Oscar’s qualified status.

After traveling the film festival circuit, hugging and crying with more strangers in one year than in my whole life, I wasn’t ready for the conversation to stop. I wanted to continue to help more people reframe how they look at Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In 2019, I launched my award-winning podcast, LOVE CONQUERS ALZ, that I co-host with my producing partner, Don Priess. We just kicked off Season Four with our 50th episode, and continue to be committed to supporting caregivers by putting real faces to the caregiving community and the 6.2 million people currently living with Alzheimer’s.

Watch the trailer:



Watch the complete film:


Apple TV

Listen to or watch “Love Conquers Alz”

About the Author

Susie Singer Carter - My Mom & The GirlI am a Writer/Creator, Director, Producer, Actress, Podcast Host/Producer, and Caregiver Advocate; a native Angeleno with two parents who left their mark in the music industry; and once in a pop band called “TWO CHIX” produced by TV’s Chuck Lorre (do not google – I beg you!)

FILM: I’m most proud of writing, directing, and producing the 2018 Oscar Qualified short film, “MY MOM AND THE GIRL” starring Valerie Harper in her final performance, writing and producing “BRATZ” for Lionsgate, co-producing “SOUL SURFER” for Sony, writing the animated feature “TWINKLE TOES 2” for Skechers/WB. Most currently, I wrote the screenplay, “PLAIN JANE,” based on the book with the same name. I am attached to direct, and Anthony Katagas (Oscar winner for 12 Years a Slave) will be Executive Producing. We just attached Leighton Meester to play “Jane.”

TELEVISION: I’m most proud of writing, producing, and running two CBS Saturday morning tween shows, “CAKE” and “DANCE REVOLUTION,” at the same time, and having a 3-script blind deal at Fox TV, one which resulted in “SURVIVING HAWKING,” an adult animated pilot I wrote, produced, and directed starring Brian Cranston and Adam Brody.

DOCUMENTARIES: I’m most proud of producing and directing two short docs, “WOMEN WHO WROTE THE WAY” and “BREAKING GOOD” for the WGA’s Women’s History Month in 2017 and 2018. The inspirational films honor trailblazing female writers – from Phyllis Nagy to Tina Fey – who have been responsible for cracking the glass ceiling and newer female writers who have followed their lead. Both screened at the WGA.

PODCASTS: I’m most proud of the award-winning “LOVE CONQUERS ALZ,” launched in December 2019, which received Best Podcast 2020 from the New Media Film Festival for Episode 6 w/ Leeza Gibbons. And my current scripted audio-drama, “I LOVE LUCIFER” the Podcast – A monster/comedy/franchise starring Adam Levy (Netflix’s The Witcher; HBO’s Industry). We’ve completed season one and are finalists in four Audio Verse Awards categories.

CAREGIVING ADVOCACY: I am currently proud and excited about my new role as the California Champion. Also, proud to have served as one of the faces seen in several Alzheimer’s awareness campaigns for Alzheimer’s Los Angeles where I also trained to be a volunteer speaker.

Connect with Susie Singer Carter












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One Response

  1. What a great story reminding people how this disease takes over a person’s life and how to navigate the challenges.

    Thank you, Susie for your dedication to your mother and for providing a much needed film on this disease.

    God Bless you!

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