Lights! Camera! Action! Those are not words we often hear echoing in the halls of elder care environments, especially to capture stories that are positive. It sometimes appears that the stories we see in the popular media are about the young, the notorious or the rich and famous. Elders make it into the public eye, it seems, only when there is a terrible story to tell, about people who are mistreated or victims of some fraud or scam.
Those of us who work with older adults know that there are many stories worth telling, stories of history, of wisdom, of accomplishment and of ongoing growth. They may not be seen to be as “glamourous” as others but they have great meaning and tremendous value.
Over the course of the last few months, the Jewish Home Family decided to create a film featuring some of the elders who live with us. We wanted to share not just their ideas and opinions but a real sense of who these elders are and what the Jewish Home means to them. We decided that the theme of our film would be focused on our new tagline, “Advancing the Art of Living,” a tagline that was written and proposed by one of the residents at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh.
The filmmaker, Jenny Schweitzer, spent days getting to know us and the people for whom we care, including elders from the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living and the Gallen Day Center. Hours of footage were condensed into a six minute video that we premiered this week. Click here to view. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.
I think that there are many messages in the film. Certainly it portrays the Jewish Home Family and the work that we do. But far beyond that, it tells the story of elders who are still living their lives, who have, and appreciate, the opportunity to continue to grow. It tells the story of folks developing relationships, living active lives and celebrating life, and the fullness of life, at every age.
What if we, as a culture, stopped ignoring our older adults, stopped acting as if they don’t exist? What would that do not just our society but to our own views as we all grow older?