“Please do not think I am suffering. I am not suffering,” Moore said as the character of Alice Howland. “I am struggling, struggling to be a part of things, to stay connected to who I once was.”
Playing a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease, Moore was giving a speech to a fake meeting of the Alzheimer's Association. It's a position that Oltz has been in many times before.
Oltz, a self-described “type-A” person and former nurse, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 47, when she was raising two teenage sons and juggling a high-pressure job.
"[Moore] would just ask questions like, ‘What does it feel like to have Alzheimer's,'" said Oltz. "I would say, 'Well, it’s like all these words [are here] and you can’t find the right one.'"
After living with the disease for three years, Oltz said she's mostly learned to accept her limitations, but she still worries that her disease will have an impact on how her sons view her.
"I worry ... they’re never going to know how smart I really was," she said. "They see their mom as kind of funny because I have to be."
Oltz said the film was important so that people can understand that it does not just affect the elderly.
“There’s a stigma that they’re grandmas and grandpas, and their life has been lived and they’re done,” she said of stereotypes about Alzheimer patients. “I pray [the film] breaks the stigma.”
Early onset Alzheimer’s disease affects 200,000 people in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer Association. The film “Still Alice” will be released in limited locations this Friday.