The Forgetting is a podcast that talks about and demystifies Alzheimer's disease. The twice-monthly show is co-hosted by two well-respected Alzheimer’s experts: David Shenk and Greg O’Brien.
O’Brien was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, at age 59. The podcast highlights the friendship Shenk and O’Brien share, while also documenting O’Brien’s experience with the disease as its symptoms become more pronounced. The earliest conversations date from 2015. Subsequent episodes of the podcast follow O'Brien's journey with the disease to the present day.
The conversations are geared toward people with the disease, as well as caregivers, friends and loved ones. In addition to discussing O'Brien's day-to-day life with Alzheimer’s and the tactics he uses to cope, the podcast also features guest interviews.
David Shenk is author of The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s, Portrait of an Epidemic.
Greg O’Brien is author of On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s.
The podcast is produced at WCAI in Woods Hole.
Executive Producer: Sean Corcoran
Producer: Steve Junker
Season Finale: Looking Toward the Future
Greg talks about some of his health issues, not because he wants a “pity party,” but so people will know just how much damage dementia does to the body as well as the brain. David and Greg talk about something that makes Greg happy – movies. Greg notes that talking about things that interest a person with dementia is a good strategy to get them to interact. Also, Executive Producer Sean Corcoran makes an announcement about the podcast’s future.
Isolating from Friends
David asks Greg to record the podcast without notes or prompts, but this creates tremendous anxiety for Greg. He says that these records are becoming more difficult, as he has less “cognitive reserve” to draw upon. That also is one of the reasons Greg is isolating from friends; he often doesn’t know what to say and becomes filled with anxiety. Also, Greg has another problem on an airplane as it become more difficult to control his rage.
Lauren Miller Rogen
Lauren Miller Rogen is an actor and screenwriter who, along with her husband the comedic actor Seth Rogen, is active in the Alzheimer’s community, fundraising and dedicating their philanthropic efforts to fighting Alzheimer’s disease and supporting others who do the same. Lauren speaks candidly with Greg and David about caring for her mother, who died in 2020 from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Greg and Lauren share stories about their moms and how they coped with the dementia.
We Love Our Moms
A doctor responds to Greg’s sense humor by teasing that he may need to be institutionalized. David and Greg talk about their writing process. The co-hosts talk about their moms, both of whom died after developing dementia. Greg’s mother taught him how to live with Alzheimer’s, Greg says. Like his Mom, Greg says he sometimes hallucinates, seeing people who aren’t there. And he remembers what his mom would say when she saw things.
Mandy Moore Is a Superfan
Greg and David host musician and actress Mandy Moore, who reveals herself to be a Greg O’Brien superfan, telling Greg, “I love this podcast.” Moore has listened to every episode, she says, as she portrays her role Rebecca Pearson on the NBC show, “This is Us.” The character develops dementia as she ages from her mid-20s to mid-to-late-80s, during the six seasons of the show. Moore also is a strong voice in the Alzheimer’s community, working with the organization Us Against Alzheimer’s to share information about how women are impacted by dementia what people can do to protect their brains.
Not the Same Person
Greg gives his thoughts on what his family tells him – he is a different person than he was years ago. His personality has changed, he says, and he is isolating himself more and more. Greg recently lost his sister to cancer, and she left him with an inspiring message. Greg’s loss of filter is evident during an interaction with nurses at the hospital.
Excellent podcast—both absorbing and important
Greg is a brave a brilliant storyteller of his story with Alzheimer’s, and the host is thoughtful and compassionate. I feel honored that Greg would chose to make this project for the world to know, as it will be a difficult examination of the Alzheimer’s experience as he knows it... hope others are as compelled by it as I am