As parents, grandparents and great-grandparents live longer and healthier lives, younger generations will witness – and perhaps participate in – the changes and the transitions that come with extended "old age." It’s an extraordinary opportunity – but one that many of us fear.
America is an unusually age-segregated and death-phobic society. An aging society can heighten fears. Families already face practical issues around caring for today’s older members. But just as challenging can be understanding aging as our loved ones experience it. And reflecting on our own aging and decline can be deeply emotional and profoundly disturbing.
In 2009, filmmaker Dakin Henderson faced his own fears in a film called What Time Is Left. What began as a portrait of his two grandmothers became a year-long meditation on life, love, identity and death. In tender, difficult and sometimes humorous moments, the Henderson/Gieg family opens their lives. Dr. Dennis McCullough, geriatrician and author of My Mother, Your Mother, guides Dakin and his family through ‘slow medicine’ as a new way of thinking about care at the end of life.
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