I absolutely adore the elderly. I made this documentary to tell a story about the elderly. I began this project by asking my grandma for help. She took me to her Tuesday card club. There I met Grace. At the time Grace was a petite 99 year old woman who fiercely and confidently played the game of 500.
I discovered Grace was celebrating her 100th birthday a week later. Intrigued by a 100 year old, I sought to tell her story. I wanted to tell the story of an independent 100 year old who is able to celebrate with her family (five generations long) the feat of reaching this milestone. I asked to attend her birthday party, and there I met her family.
I sat down with her daughter, Judy ,and her granddaughter, Cristy ,to hear their stories about Grace. I also met with psychologists who specialize in the aging brain. Through all of this, I learned about lifestyle factors that have drastically changed through generations that potentially helped Grace live to 100. I saw the family’s love for their mother and grandmother and their appreciation for having her in their lives so long. I also heard stories about aging that are neither alluring, nor pleasant. As we age our minds are deteriorating, because of this, the family continuously experiences sadness watching Grace age. They are slowly losing the person they grew up with.
I wanted this documentary to not only tell the specific story of Graces, but to also be educational. In making documentaries I like to ask the question, “What can I learn from this person?” Grace is not just a 100 year old woman, she is a testament to taking care of yourself, proof of good genes and lifestyle factors that helped her reach 100. Her family isn’t just a family with a 100 year old member, they are a demonstration of a loving family who takes care of each other, and feels the pain of change. Cristy once told me, “ The only thing constant in life is change.” She certainly experiences and embraces that constant change as she watches her grandmother age.
With Grace’s story, I told a fraction of the fascinating story about aging. Aging is a beautiful privilege not everyone is given. Grace is an extraordinary individual who has aged gracefully with a considerate family to help her.