Friday, January 29, 2016

Schmidt vs O'Horten: Film Pairing

About Schmidt Released 2002; O'Horten Released 2007.
After watching over 200 films depicting midlife and late life, I'm seeing patterns.

Sometimes one film influences another. For example, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) has a strong influence on two subsequent films.

Other films are direct remakes, such as the 2014 English-language version of the 2005 Spanish film Elsa y Fred.

In this instance, I see two characters taking different approaches to the same life passage. For this reason, I recommend that people watch About Schmidt (2002) and O'Horten (2007) back to back--but necessarily in the same evening.

Schmidt and O'Horten are both men who retire at the beginning of their narratives.  Nebraska native Schmidt worked at a insurance company for decades before retiring at age 66.  Norway native O'Horten worked as a train conductor for decades before retiring at age 67.

Both men exhibit highly ingrained habits at work and at home.  Both men experience personal chaos because of the loss of their workplace routines.  This leads both men to question everything from their identity to their relationships to society at large.

What differs is their path through that chaos.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Stranger in My Recliner: Book Review

Published 26 January 2016.
Fate brought Sophie into John McGettigan's path one day--quite literally. 

When Sophie fell on the sidewalk in front of him, John recognized this small, octogenarian woman from their casual friendship as residents of the same town.  

At that time, Sophie had been living outside after losing permission to sleep in a basement of a meeting hall.  

Once John learned she was homeless, he drove Sophie home where his wife Doreen agreed that they should make a bed on the couch for Sophie. 

A night's refuge turned into a week, then a month. 

Somehow, Sophie ended up living with the McGettigans for over a year.  As a writer, Doreen worked through her thoughts and feelings about caring for Sophie by writing The Stranger in My Recliner

With a combination of pragmatics and tenderness, McGettigan worked to improve Sophie's physical, emotional and mental health.   

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lie of "One and Done" Caregiving

Photo by RCC.
Aging is a gradual and dynamic process.

Many people do not realize this.

I say this because I have seen a lot of adult children hold onto an unrealistic view of aging.

Many adult children expect their parents to have full health until the week their parents move into a nursing home.

The adult child expects a "One and Done" type of intervention.

They expect that they will take one week off work to help transfer their parent from an independent home to a dependent nursing care environment.

One major change in health. One move. One intervention. One week. One and Done.

"One and Done" is NOT the norm.

For most older adults, aging is a dynamic experience.  The person's needs change frequently over time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Celebrate Singers Who Are Stayin' Alive

Photo by Phillip Pessar.
During the last week, Baby Boomers have keenly mourned the loss of musicians David Bowie and Glenn Fry.

I honor their contribution to the music industry specifically and American culture in general.

However, I feel the need to focus on national treasures still with us.

I spent some time today looking at the Billboard Hot 100 lists for my teen years: 1973-1980.

Here is a list of singers who are still living, many of whom are still writing, recording or performing. 

So here is a shout out to those surviving singers (turning 66 to 78 this year) who provided the soundtrack of my teenage years.