This is Mae and Derek from next door, who popped in for lunch yesterday. He is 87-years-old and has a teddy called Terry who Mae plays with. Together they have more wisdom than I could hope to muster. Together they make each other a bit happier – Mae’s confidence has come on in leaps and bounds, while Derek has been forced to imbibe tea out of a shocking pink tea cup. It was a timely lunch, though – news of a unique programme in West Seattle, bringing together nursery kids with older folk from a care home just hit the Internet.
The 400 people who live at Providence Mount St. Vincent interact with the kids from the Intergenerational Learning Center through music, dancing, art, storytelling, lunch, and even just a quick natter. “I was so drawn to it because it was so simple,” filmmaker Evan Briggs told HuffPost Live. Briggs filmed at the centre three days a week over the course of the 2012-13 school year and earlier this month, she released a trailer for “Present Perfect” (watch here). It looks at the kids’ interactions with the elderly, how those relationships lift the isolation that often permeates care homes, and challenges viewers to look at how they think about older folk.
Sweet moments are caught between the very young and very old, including a very patient boy repeatedly telling his name to a senior who is hard of hearing. But there are other “poignant and heartbreakingly real” interactions too, wrote Briggs on her website.
Along with the trailer was a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to cover a rough edit of the film. It surpassed the goal within two weeks, and Briggs is now aiming for $100,000 to complete the production. Even before the film is finished, Briggs and the centre have been receiving countless queries from around the globe, looking to implement similar programs.
“It’s nice when you present an issue to also present a possible solution and I think this is one of many solutions that we can offer to close that circle of life loop a little better than we’ve been doing,” said Briggs.
While we’re not looking to bathe in any Age Concern accolades here, it’s only a lunch invite; a box of flapjacks or just a quick ‘awight’. A fleeting moment that might lead to a friendship that sees age as no barrier.
Additional reporting: Huffington Post