Whether a movie is pure fiction, based on a true story, or a documentary, there are plenty of lessons to be learned about the treatment of the older individuals in our lives. There have been many portrayals of seniors on film  – some meant to be comical and others meant to shed light on tough topics like elder abuse, loneliness, or conquering a bucket list.

Many of the lessons presented in some of these classic movies can be carried over into real life. How seniors are portrayed in film can be an eye-opening experience and might give you a different perspective on the older people in your own life.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few different portrayals of senior citizens on the big screen, and how some of those portrayals can shed light on things that you might need to address in the real world. By keeping these films and their underlying lessons in mind, you can make a positive impact on the seniors you care about. 

Not Letting Them Disappear

One of the biggest problems so many seniors face in this country is loneliness. Isolation has been linked to a variety of physical and mental health issues, including an increased risk of conditions like: 

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

While there are nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country that do great work, there are also some that contribute to those feelings of isolation and loneliness. When a senior feels like they’ve been “put in a home” and they rarely have visitors, their health can decline quickly. 

There have been documentaries about elder abuse in nursing homes all over the world, and they can be difficult to watch. Even movies that are meant to be fictional have touched on it, including the recently-released, I Care A Lotbased on a true story surrounding elder abuse and guardianship fraud. 

Some older people can benefit from being in a care facility. They might not be able to do things on their own, and they need supervision and assistance. But, make sure you do your research if you’re ever in charge of making that decision for someone. If you already know someone in a nursing home, make it a priority to visit them as often as possible, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. You could greatly improve their quality of life by doing so. If your friend or relative has no or only minor healthcare needs, alternatives to nursing homes may be in order. Home care, assisted living, and even adult “daycare” are great options for senior adults who simply desire socialization.

Caring for Their Needs

Even if a senior can stay at home and live independently, it’s still important to provide them with the care and support they need. They still require companionship, and while movies like Robot & Frank take an interesting look at how technology can contribute to companionship, it just isn’t the same as human interaction. 

You don’t have to have some kind of special certification or even experience to care for the senior(s) in your life. If your parent or another family member needs your help, consider offering things like: 

  • Payment for support services (home meal delivery, transportation, etc.)

  • Financial assistance or management

  • Ensuring their home is safe and secure

You might find that in return for spending time and caring for a senior, you end up gaining a lot, too. Popular movies like Tuesdays With Morrie, CoCo, and Terms of Endearment all focus on the lessons that can be learned from the elderly, even when they’re in the end stages of life. You can learn about your own family history, important life lessons, and so much more if you just devote a little bit of your time to their care. 

Helping Them Live Their Best Life

As a society, we’ve made some common misconceptions about seniors. It’s easy to imagine them as frail, feeble, and in constant need of care. In so many cases, though, that just isn’t reality. There are plenty of seniors who are energetic, vibrant, and ready to continue living their lives to the fullest!

Hollywood has captured that spirit in several fun movies, including The Bucket List, Something’s Gotta Give, and Old Dogs. While these movies might take things to extremes, they do show that so many seniors aren’t ready to just “give up” on life. They have a lot of living to do, and want to make the most of it!

Some seniors still might struggle with things like finances, health concerns, or mobility issues, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want a full life in their golden years. So, do what you can to help out your older loved ones. Whether that means paying for an unforgettable trip for them or helping them to accomplish a “bucket list” item, they’ll undoubtedly be more grateful than you could ever imagine. 

Movies do a great job of helping us see things from a different perspective. They can also teach important lessons along the way. If you’ve never seen some of the films listed throughout this article, be sure to check them out. They might make you think more about the seniors in your life, and how important it is to treat them with as much care and respect as possible.