Film Fest Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act

Reel of Film --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Films used to portray older people with a limited number of stereotypes—doddering or irascible, dirty old men, guilt-provoking mothers, simple and forgetful, stuck in the past. Fortunately, the lens widened. Several major Hollywood films show older people with as full a range of needs, personalities and aspirations as other generations. Films as diverse as the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Philomena, Nebraska and documentaries such as Gotta Dance and Alive Inside portray older people as complex, compelling, funny and real.

Last fall, in honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, the Healthy Aging Partnership (HAP) invited Washington state filmmakers—both aspiring and experienced—to enter short films in a new festival dedicated to broadening the ways we think about aging. The film festival takes place on Tuesday, May 6. It will showcase stories and images that show the possibilities for aging with energy, vitality, creativity and compassion, and influence how we all see the process of aging.

The arts, and in particular film, create a unique access to the discussion of aging in our community. Filmmakers were asked to create short films that highlight positive aspects of aging and to develop multicultural and intergenerational collaborations to enhance and foster the supportive community needed to age well. Suggested themes were Activism, Arts, Boomers, Caregiving, Diversity, Health, Linguistically Diverse, Living with a Chronic Disease, Multigenerational, and Sage/Wisdom.

The Healthy Aging Partnership Film Short Festival takes place on Tuesday, May 6, at the Naked City Brewery (8564 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle). A reception with no-host bar will start at 5:30 p.m., with the screenings from 7 to 9 p.m.

To join this exciting event, RSVP at www.surveymonkey.com/s/PX2CQ7N (reservations are required). If you have questions, e-mail HAP-events@4elders.org.

Contributor Rebecca Crichton is executive director of the Northwest Center for Creative Aging, one of more than 30 nonprofit, government and community organizations that belong to the Healthy Aging Partnership, a coalition that offers information and resources to older adults and caregivers through networking, education, outreach and the promotion of a free confidential Senior Information and Assistance line: 1-888-4-ELDERS. HAP strives to reduce barriers between generations and create opportunities to counteract ageism in our society. For more information, visit www.4elders.org.

50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act

We're entering the 50th year since the signing of the Older Americans Act on July 14, 1965. The Act established the U.S. Administration on Aging, the state agencies on aging to address the social services needs of older people, and the Aging Services Network—a vast array of services for older adults coordinated by local Area Agencies on Aging.

Thanks to the federal Older Americans Act and Washington State's Senior Citizens Services Act, today we enjoy a broad range of services that help older people maintain maximum independence, in their homes and communities, and promote a continuum of care for the vulnerable elderly.

For information about the local network coordinated by Aging and Disability Services—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County—visit www.agingkingcounty.org/aging_network.htm.