Many of us hate to admit it, but Hollywood films and television shows control much of our perception. Many people still believe that when engines cut out of an airplane, it’ll nosedive (as opposed to glide safely to the ground). With senior housing communities, it’s no different.
Although the era of morbid nursing homes is long gone, senior living is still rarely shown in a positive light in film and television. And why would it be? To quote a fairly acclaimed movie director, Joss Whedon, “We go to the movies to watch the people we love suffer.” We invest in characters and when we watch them struggle, it creates drama and suspense. So if a retirement community was featured as the best place in the world, you wouldn’t have a successful film.
That said, of late there have been some movies that focus on elder characters’ dynamics as opposed to their living situation: Quartet and Robot and Frank to name two. However, both these are retirement homes and it’d be great to start seeing some of the more modern adult family homes being included.
Here are 5 reasons why Hollywood needs more adult family homes in the cinema and on TV.
As mentioned above, Hollywood controls much of our perception, but that’s not always a good thing. That said, most rely on retirement homes to showcase senior housing and nowadays there are many more options available.
Adult family homes would benefit from mass attention as a housing option, but moreover the very premise of adult family homes lends itself to a sitcom or perfect movie set.
2. Retrofitted Home
Adult family homes are retrofitted to be accessible to all seniors. This means no clutter, lots of grab bars, sturdy hand rails, and space. If you’ve ever watched a sitcom, you know how much of a factor “space” plays. The sets need to be open so a camera can pass through them and wind their way around. With adult family homes, they’re built for ease of use, so it’d be easy to do any kind of filming.
3. 6 Roommates
In the Pacific Northwest, adult family homes are limited to a maximum of six residents. That automatically lends itself to comedy. Six roommates with a lot or a little in common; roommates with different personalities, interests, and care needs. With adult family homes, you have the potential for all the archetypes you could possibly want with shared or private rooms. Perhaps a couple staying in one room, the sage veteran in another, a retired musician in the fourth, and former business partners in the final two rooms.
Moreover, adult family homes are liberating and many offer transportation services (or residents bring their own vehicles) to go out into the city. This lends itself to unique destinations around the city and providing an accurate depiction of life in senior housing—as opposed to staying in a dreary home and seldom moving beyond that.
5. Intergenerational Demographic
Perhaps most importantly is ensuring a market for this type of show and fortunately, there’d be plenty of age groups to appeal to. Although seniors would be the focus, adult family homes are centered in residential neighborhoods.
With adult family homes in Everett for instance, you’re likely to be living beside single-family homes. These could be your 30-50s demographic. Storylines could revolve around a sandwich generation modeled family. Perhaps, they’re struggling to afford elder care for their loved one and save money for their daughter’s college. Maybe they work out a deal with the gerontologist running the family home to better afford both.
Moreover, the Registered Nurses, Gerontologists, and Licensed Practical Nurses could range from 20s-60s themselves.
There’s an opportunity here to show the positive aging experience while appealing to multiple demographics. With movies like Still Alice that have already helped raise awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, hopefully more medias will take a chance and push those issues. Alzheimer’s is not only widely misunderstood, but far less researched than other diseases. Considering the millions that suffer and eventually pass away from Alzheimer’s, it’s important that information be readily accessible and broadcasted!