The Unspooling Mind is a documentary about the human toll of dementia, heart-wrenching decisions for families, the desperate search for care for those who can no longer care for themselves, and seeking help in a place with no return in a country far from home.
If they were a country called "Dementia" its population would be larger than Canada's. The condition affects 44 million people and strikes so often and so arbitrarily that it's been called an epidemic. It unspools the mind without any cure in sight.
On the outskirts of Amsterdam, interwoven in the fabric of the medieval village of Weesp, there is a place with no yesterday, no tomorrow, there is only now. All the people living there have severe dementia but they still can enjoy normal life and social contacts. Welcome to dementia village with population 152 where there's only one way in and one way out. They'll all die there... and life should be good in their last years.
Five time zones away there is another place with no locks at all, no gates or fences, in the land of smiles where demented are deposited by their European families, freely living in the moment until they take their last breath. The cost of caring for dementia patients has skyrocketed in recent years and it's created an industry of medical tourism... especially in Thailand.
Beyond the bustle of Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai there's a quiet street and aged houses where the inhabitants occupy a private and mysterious world. Thailand is already known for its medical tourism and now this industry is worth almost four billion dollars a year. This latest business model is called "the granny export" and it touched a raw nerve back in Europe. The pain of this disease is often felt more by family who still hold the memories instead of those who've lost them.