Imagine that you have a disease likely to leave you unable to talk or write. “Come Talk To Me” follows Parkinson’s disease (PD) activist Jackie Christensen, husband Paul, and friends with PD as they reflect on how it has affected their own speech and relationships with family, friends, and healthcare providers, and discuss available assistive technologies and tools.

 

 

 

“Come Talk To Me” is a feature-length documentary that is currently in the initial filming stage. Producer Jackie Hunt Christensen describes her current vision for the film:

“I became a Greenpeace activist when I participated in my first nonviolent direct action in Chicago in July 1987. I became a Parkinson’s disease (PD) activist when I was diagnosed with the disease in July 1998, at age 34. Now, 26 years later, I continue to be an activist and advocate not only for a better understanding of the unique communication challenges that the disease brings to relationships of all kinds, but also the critical importance of accessible,* available, and affordable assistive communication technologies, tools and strategies for ALL people with Parkinson’s (PwP) who need them. These will allow PwP to continue to communicate with their families, friends and healthcare providers, as well as to make their wishes and needs known regarding end-of-life care.

*By “accessible,” I mean “easy for PwP to understand and use,” as simple and durable as possible. “Available”as used here means “easily obtained by anyone.” “Affordable” as used here means “neither the PwP nor their care partner or loved ones will have to give up any basic human right (adequate food, clean water, safe shelter, medical care and medication) in order to pay the cost. For many, there should be no payment due.

In “Come Talk To Me,” Jackie and Paul recount that journey: from her diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease to authoring books to presenting at the World Parkinson’s Congress in Montreal.  All along that path, Jackie and Paul depended on each other and on their ability to communicate clearly despite the challenges that Parkinson’s disease presents.

The film visits with other Parkinson’s disease patients and their care partners from around the country, a diverse group of people connected with Jackie through their advocacy around the disease.  Each of their stories focuses on how the disease has challenged their ability to communicate and how they have found tools and strategies to overcome those challenges.

Over a decade after presenting in Montreal, Paul and Jackie have learned new tools and strategies to manage their life with the disease.  Producing “Come Talk To Me” represents the latest achievement in Jackie’s journey with the disease.

Producer: Jackie Hunt Christensen
Director: Deacon Warner