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Unseen - A New Documentary about a Caregiving Family

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2022 3:30 am

Unseen - A New Documentary about a Caregiving Family

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 17, 2022 3:30 am

Tom and Amanda Dwyer called the program to discuss their new documentary about a caregiving family titled "UNSEEN." 

https://www.facebook.com/caregiverdoc 

https://www.instagram.com/caregiverdoc/

About the “Unseen” Documentary

www.caregiverdoc.com 

The film follows Jess and Ryan Ronne, a blended family with 8 children, including Lucas, who has profound disabilities requiring total care. Their situation has gotten more and more challenging as Lucas gets older and stronger. With limited resources and support, caregiving takes a toll on their physical and mental health.

It’s a common story among parent caregivers: the isolation, uncertainty about the future, lack of options, and a never-ending daily to-do list means the role of caregiver overpowers nearly every other facet of life. Video diaries from diverse caregivers featured in the film illustrate this universality, while interviews with mental health experts and policy/legal advocates provide a broader view on the societal impacts.

Through the power of unfiltered, compelling human stories, Unseen cultivates compassion and tangible support for the caregivers in our communities.

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This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver and we're glad that you are with us. There's a new film out called Unseen. It's a documentary. Guess what it's about? It's about a caregiving family. I have the creative minds behind this film here with me, Tom and Amanda Dyer from Nashville, Tennessee.

This film is creating quite a buzz around the country. It is a subject that is near and dear, of course, to my heart and I want to welcome you all to the program. So thanks for being here with us. Thank you for having us.

Yeah, thank you. Tell me what piqued your interest on that. I mean, your background in film, what about this grabbed your interest? Yeah, we actually had no connection to this world to begin with.

We're not parents or caregivers ourselves. So we were actually just talking about kind of doing a creative project, something for fun that we wanted to collaborate on that we could do together. Right about that time, we just stumbled across the Ronnie family through social media, realized they lived not too far from us. We, you know, they kind of mentioned that they thought a documentary would be a powerful tool to kind of show the challenges of being a caregiver and really peel back that curtain and give people a better glimpse. And that just piqued our interest. Once we met with them, they just told us some stories that really blew our minds. And we just saw immediately that there was some potential here for a documentary to be a powerful tool to tell their stories and really just open people's minds. Yeah, it started off as a passion project for us. It was just we do a lot of client work and we wanted to do something that was more meaningful and just something that we could kind of sink our teeth into. And this was something that these families are going through that we had no knowledge of previously.

And so once we started to kind of become aware of some of this stuff, it was pretty surprising to us and something we felt like we could help tell these experiences and these stories for these families. What is their background? What is their story? Just a brief overview.

Yeah, the really high level. They are a blended family. Both Jess and Ryan, their first spouses passed away. And so they were caregivers for their spouses first. And then when they found each other and got married, blended their families. And so now they have eight children, one of whom is Lucas, who has profound disabilities. And they've just gone through kind of a crazy journey of, first of all, not even thinking that he was going to survive.

But then he was born. They had tons of support from their church, community, family, friends, and kind of took that for granted. And then as he got older, they ended up moving to a little more rural environment. Some of that help fell away and everything changed.

As he got older, things were more difficult. The help fell away, the resources fell away. And that's when they were just really struggling and looking around saying, what do we do?

We don't have support and we don't know what to do. So what did you all, I mean, you went into this with no knowledge of this world of caregivers. What surprised you? What was your takeaway? What dismayed you? What broke your heart? All of the above.

Yeah. Short answer is quite a bit. I think that one of the surprising things was just the isolation that a lot of these families experience. Just being as busy and as occupied as they are with just the things that are necessary for them to take care of their family or their individual that they're caring for. I mean, it's just, for a lot of them, it's constant and there's not much relief. One thing we talk about a lot is respite. The idea of respite in a lot of these families, it just doesn't exist. We got a lot of feedback from other caregivers during this and just the similarities between the issues that they experience across the board were just always surprising, I think.

Yeah. We heard so many of the same or similar stories over and over, and we just had no idea that this was such a common issue. I mean, the stat that we found is there's 16.8 million people caring for, and that's just caring for a child with this, that doesn't even count elder care or other kinds of caregiving. So with numbers like that, there's a good chance everybody knows a caregiver in some form or fashion. So it was just eye-opening to us to realize that there's caregivers all over and it's just so easy to not realize that because a lot of caregiving happens at home and because it can be difficult to get out into the community.

It's not accessible. It's not built for families that it's easy just to not see them and not think about them. And that's what this made us in is what motivated this project too. What are some things that surprised you in a positive way that you say, okay, this is life-changing for me. This is a principle I'm seeing going on here, whether it's faith-related, whether it's what is your takeaway that Tom and Amanda now are your lives will never be the same because of this kind of thing.

Yeah, I mean so many things truly. I think I always say you can't care about something you don't know about. And then now that we know we have to care, like we care, we are invested in this now.

And I think it's something that we can't unknow now. So we feel very motivated to do what we can for this community to use the skills that we have to bring this message to light. And we are totally grateful and indebted to the families that were willing to share with us who they didn't know us. They didn't know what our angle was or what our motivation was, but they trusted us with their stories, gave us glimpses into their life behind the scenes and shared things that are difficult and made them vulnerable.

So we are truly grateful to them being willing to do that. And I think it also is encouraging to see that other people do care too, as we bring this to communities and hear from people that are watching it. We are seeing that people do care and want to know what can I do after, now that I'm aware, what can I do? How can I help? So I hope that's encouraging for the caregivers that are listening to know that as people become aware, there is more compassion building.

How about you, Tom? I think one of the things that surprised me quite a bit and was inspiring is just a lot of the families that we talk to and work with, they are so busy and so they have so much to do, and yet they find the time and the capacity to advocate for other families as well. It's obviously such a tight-knit community that really has each other's backs. And it was fun to see these people, these families go lock arm in arm to help out each other in any way they can, especially when they have so much to do. Just some of the perseverance that I saw in a lot of them was particularly inspiring. So yeah, it was definitely eye-opening in a lot of ways. Were there moments when you were behind the camera, you're looking at the playback, you're watching this thing unfold, or maybe just in the edit room where you just kind of had to stop and take a knee, catch your breath a little bit? Did you have those kinds of moments?

Yeah, I mean, absolutely. We're very grateful to the Ronnie family just for being as open as they were. And that was something that we had to really balance, right?

It's because so much of caregiving and so much of the struggle that these families go through happens behind closed doors, so people don't see it often. And they were, the Ronnie family was kind enough to let us behind those closed doors and be vulnerable with us. And that, at times, was difficult.

I mean, just to see what their daily life played out and so how their daily life played out. And so it was tough at times just to watch what they go through and just how meticulously they have had to manage and structure their days so that things run at least somewhat smoothly when they can. And so there were times where it was quite surprising, for sure. But I think it's the hearing the stories from so many different families and getting the feedback of people who have seen it or hearing how meaningful it is to them and how they've found it. Eye-opening or healing to watch or that's sort of the fuel to keep coming. It's a lot of effort to create and distribute a documentary and we honestly didn't totally see all of that coming.

But it's their responses and them telling us how important it is that is really that fuel to keep going even when it is challenging subject matter and challenging just to manage. Now, you guys are premiering this at various places. Tell me a little bit about the premieres that are going on. You have live events, you have satellite events, you've got online stuff.

Tell me what's going on with that in the last minute. Yeah, we're doing a lot of different ways of getting it out. We have some in-person screenings, the next one coming up locally here in Nashville on September 25th. And then we're also doing other in-person ones around the country. If you go to our website caregiverdoc.com slash watch, that's kind of the ongoing list of screenings that are popping up. So, you can keep an eye on that. And then we're also doing a national premiere in November along with National Family Caregivers Month. So, that's coming up too.

No matter where you are, you'll be able to access that one. Excellent. What's next for you guys? I mean, this is obviously taking you by storm. I mean, this is a bigger project than you ever intended.

True. What's next? Well, we're working on some bonus content to kind of go along, dive into some of these issues a little bit more deeply. So, if anyone's interested in sharing to contribute to that, there's some information on our website there as well. And then we do have some other projects in the works. They're still very early on in development stage, but we're hoping some of those can pan out and we can start telling more stories as well. Are you going to do an extended version with the gag reel? No, I'm just kidding. There's some bloopers lingering around. We have lots of bloopers at my house.

So, that would be kind of fun. Well, this is very exciting and I'm glad to see a concerted effort on this. I'm glad to hear about the reception that you're getting. Obviously, audiences around the country that are seeing this are being very moved by this and it's resonating deeply. And it's an extraordinary project that you two have taken on, particularly since you had no connection to this, you just saw the need.

And there are a lot of us caregivers out there. And I would like to thank you for doing this. I think it's going to be an extraordinary film and project for you guys. This is Peter Rosemary with Tom and Amanda Dyer. The movie is called Unseen.

Go to caregiverdoc.com, caregiverdoc.com. And Tom and Amanda, thank you so much for being here with me today. Thank you so much for having us. All right, we'll be right back. Bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 18:01:21 / 2023-02-24 18:06:48 / 5

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