Amour – My Vote for Best Picture

AmourDid you watch the Oscars this year?  Whether you watched the show or just glanced at the results, hopefully the French film Amour is familiar to you. It was nominated for both Best Foreign Film and Best Picture. Argo took home Best Picture, but another “A” film, Amour,  won Best Foreign Film.

I was very excited after I first saw the film a few months ago.  Amazing that a film honestly portraying the trials of aging could be seen as exceptional. It didn’t have explosions or rescues (well maybe he did rescue his wife…) or dramatic political concessions. It had hard work, emotional honesty, and acting that felt true to nature.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuella Riva, each over 80 years old, had the decency to show how vulnerable one becomes in old age – whether you are the caregiver or the partner with the health condition.  The interesting character in the film was their daughter – full of “should’ s” and suggestions, but not willing to interrupt her life to emotionally or physically support her parents.

I’m recommending this film to anyone 40 years old or older. Remember how in high school we had required reading? My fantasy is that this film would be required viewing for all of us Boomers.

What do you think it’s going to be like when old age really sets in? If you’ve had the enriching experience of being close to someone in the last stages of their life, you have felt and smelled and heard the aching, the creaking of the soul as it lets go of this physical world. Sometimes the letting go is a lengthy process.

I’m a nurse practitioner who has worked in the area of gerontology for many decades and I think Amour is an outstanding film. On the national media scene, we are starting to hear discussions somewhat related to the topic of aging and end of life. But last year’s hype about “death panels” didn’t really advance the discussion.

As the Boomers age, we know our generation will greatly impact the health care system and the national budget. And it is also honest to have real discussions about end-of-life care. It is a fantasy that many of us still hold, that there will always be “one more thing” that can be done to save us. Even with the best of care, none of us will get out of here alive.

In Amour, Anne, the wife, made her husband promise not to send her back to the hospital. Is that a conversation some of you have had with your loved ones? When is “enough is enough” – if Anne had had that conversation with her daughter, would her daughter have been more supportive and understanding?

Every person’s last journey is unique but it is very worthwhile to have these types of conversations with your loved ones while you still can – whether you are the child looking to care for parents, or you yourself are the aging parent.  Don’t leave it up to “fate” to force those wrenching decisions on you and your family – have the decency to talk to those you love about what your/their last wishes are.

 

 

Anne Ellett

Anne Ellett

Anne Ellett is a certified nurse practitioner and has worked in the field of gerontology for over 20 years. She recognizes that the field of “senior health”/“senior care” is rapidly changing and evolving. Anne expects that as Baby Boomers age into their 60’s and 70’s, they will have a dramatic effect on how health care is delivered to older people. When Boomers were younger and having children, their consumer demands completely transformed how obstetrical care was delivered, moving the female patient from a passive role into the role of a partner and a decision-maker throughout the pregnancy and birth process. As Boomers get older and look ahead, they are already starting a national dialogue about how they want the care for their last decades to be different – more collaborative, more information, and more “in charge” of their journey as they age. Cognitive decline and the development of dementia is one of the greatest Boomer fears. Improved health care has allowed people to live longer, increasing their risk of developing a type of dementia. Anne has extensive knowledge in caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. For over 10 years, she was Senior Vice President of Health Services with a large national company (Silverado Senior Living) that specialized in dementia care and she was awarded the national award in the area of dementia care for 2009 by the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living’s (CEAL). In addition, she was nominated to the U.S. Congressional Advisory Committee on Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. . Anne received a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor and M.S. in Nursing from California State University, Long Beach. Currently, Anne is consulting with companies providing housing and clinical care to older adults. She can be reached via email: anne.ellett@cox.net. The next decade will be an exciting time for new developments in the field of gerontology and Anne is committed to helping keep Boomers informed of relevant and researched health results that can make a difference in their quality of life.
Anne Ellett

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