Ed Menaker is the director of development at Terra Nova Films. He spoke at Washington Post Live's 2013 Caregiving in America forum. (Washington Post Live)

Ed Menaker at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum in Chicago. (Photo by Ashlee Rezin/The Washington Post)

“My father was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s and my mother tried to care for him as best she could. She also was very old. And I think she began to die a little bit herself in trying to care for him because it was such a difficult process to watch, to see him disconnect and to see him move away from her. And there was one incident in particular, I think, that sticks out in her struggle: She wanted to celebrate his birthday and made him a birthday cake. And he pushed it off the table. He pushed it on to the floor. He pushed her away. And I think then is when we all realized as a family that we had to understand a little bit better that it was his disease that was causing him to act this way. I don’t think we — any of us — understood at that time.”

-Ed Menaker, director of development, Terra Nova Films