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photo The Elder Project
By Eva Colmers
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada

Our older seniors—those aged 80 and over—have become the fastest-growing population segment on earth and yet their voices are rarely heard. The Elder Project provides perspectives from this group by consulting directly with the experts—the elders themselves.

The National Film Board of Canada followed seven elders over a period of two years, recording their experiences as they faced potential physical and mental decline and the possibility of transitioning into more dependant living situations while trying to maintain their quality of life. While each person has different social, economic, health or cultural circumstances, all share the desire to grow older with dignity and a sense of control over their future. The elders share their views on issues that affect them: the loss of mental or physical abilities, the death of a close friend or spouse, moving closer to family members and more. Through a series of short, episodic and candid stories, we hear about their needs and desires in a personal, experiential and very revealing way.

The Elder Project provides a much-needed tool for professionals who deal with seniors in many different settings—doctors, nurses, service providers, educators and caregivers. It also offers insights for family/friend caregivers into the complex issues faced by elders, looking beyond the limitations of age and disease, and refutes the assumption of inevitable decline and frailty in older age. The film does not try to provide facts on care for older adults but rather uses storytelling to provide the social side of the aging experience from the point of view of the elders themselves.

The film is over two hours long and is divided into six stories of 20 to 35 minutes each (two of the elders were filmed together). Each elder’s story is further divided into chapters of approximately five to eight minutes.

130 minutes
© 2010
Purchase $248.00 DVD
Order No. QA-568
close captioned

Recommended! "Spending time with these seven [elders] and their loved ones is more uplifting than sad, as they exhibit an inspiring love of life and refusal to give up in the face of adversity. And the documentary fulfills its purpose of illustrating various caregiving options open to the elderly as their needs increase." Video Librarian

"Sensitive, intimate and moving...The Elder Project challenges singular views of older adults as frail and dependent. It should be required viewing for all whose professional and personal lives bring them into contact with older adults and for those who wish to grow old with dignity." Dr. Norah Keating, Chair, North American Region, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics

Awards & Conference Screenings
Official Selection, 2012 Western Psychological Association Film Festival

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Beauty In Aging: From a group of friends who share their experiences of normal aging, to a woman stricken with facial paralysis, to nursing home beauty contestants, to an 85-year-old social butterfly and humanitarian, this program, compiled from excerpts from four videos, allows women to speak for themselves about the transitions of aging.

Alzheimers Care Series: This three-part series addresses common but often misunderstood behaviors of patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. With the methods of interaction and intervention presented, caregivers can redirect and defuse these behaviors while keeping patients' dignity intact.

Positive Images of Aging: This compilation DVD offers instructors and discussion leaders fourteen 3-5 minute video segments, each of which reflects on a positive aspect of aging. Segments can be shown individually or together as needed, and can easily be incorporated into classroom lectures or PowerPoint presentations.

Sage: Celebrates the wisdom, experience, and creativity of our society's elders through portraits of a diverse group of active, engaged seniors pursuing their lifetime interests, and some new ones as well. Among those profiled is TV chef Julia Child.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website