It has been a while since my last blog. It is not a lack of subjects, more trying to sort through all the the new press on an old subject – getting old. Over the last five years, I have been amused by the original titles for approaching aging as a subject. Authors and organizations have been formed with the phrases such as: re-imaginging aging, re-framing aging, challenging aging, and defying aging. There is new book out titled, Successful Aging by Daniel Levitin. It puts forth detailed advice on keeping your mental sharpness and gets down in the neuroscience to explain the complexities of keeping an older brain younger. It very long and very detailed.
But really, what about just portraying aging as it is. Instead of the constant defense posture of how to ward off the effects of staying on this earth longer, why not look truth in the face. Well a surprising source for that has just happened at the 2020 Sundance film festival. There is so much more in print about the aging now, but some of these new films highlight the real guts of being old, caring for someone older and frailer and make us ask good solid questions. I think we have become a society that needs things in their face as opposed to reading off the page to ponder the complexities of life.
So here are some recommendations for movie viewing going and documentary watching. Watch for trailers to judge what you what to spend your time on.
“The Farewell” would you keep terminal medical news from an older loved one?
“Falling” son tries to care for bitter difficult father
“The Father” adapted from a French play about eldercare
“Dick Johnson is Dead” a bit more bizarre premise but well reviewed
“The Mole Agent” a private detective hires an 84 year old to live in assisted living and report back
“Minari” about an elder Korean grandmother who keep her family strong
“Some Kind of Heaven” is about the false utopia of places like The Villages – the mega retirement city in Florida – definitely will check this one out
Also an older film from 2018 “What They Had” is another portrayal of family responsibility when decisions have to made for an older family member.
Why all this now? Because the number of adults taking care of aging parents has tripled. It is like the second tsunami. Films like these can bring more people into the discussion of what needs to happen. Better than averting our eyes from the truth.