Homes for the frail elderly can be some of the most depressing places on the planet, though residents like my Aunt Grace (Is your door open? I need to talk) brighten the lives of those consigned there. Splitting old people off from the rest of society may be convenient, but it is no better practice than marginalizing people because they have physical or emotional challenges.
Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle is bringing the very young and the very old together in a care center. They eat lunch together, put together puzzles, share stories and toys, play games, and give each other loving attention.
Filmmaker Evan Briggs captured the interactions in her film, Present Perfect. Disturbed by how “generationally segregated” we are, she set out to study how the intergenerational interactions affected both groups. Of the exchanged she witnessed, she observes, “Some were sweet, some awkward, some funny – all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”
A $50,000 Kickstarter campaign brought in more than $100,000 so Present Perfect will be completed and distributed. When it is, it will be a don’t-miss film to see. If this intergenerational program improves the lives of this care center’s frail seniors and enriches the lives of the toddlers, it will be well worth replicating.