If you were to look at documentaries about aging and the elderly, you might think the only things older adults care about are serious topics. This isn’t to say that these documentaries don’t have a place. Many adults will have to contend with issues like caregiving and illness at some point.
Still, they may help contribute to harmful stereotypes of senior citizens that are prevalent in western media. In movies, television shows, and even commercials, portrayals of people over 60 are often detrimental stereotypes. Lots of media depicts older adults as absent-minded or out-of-touch. Though this may be true for some, in studies older adults perform similarly to or even better than younger adults.
Life doesn’t end or stop the moment you turn 60 or 75 or 90. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous—of course people over 60 can have joyful, fulfilling, energetic lives. This very concept is the subject of the documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.”
The film, directed by Danny Gold, stars Carl Reiner and a handful of other over-90 adults. As the host of the documentary, Reiner seeks out and interviews other nonagenarians. Together they discuss the joys of life after 90, as well as the frustrations of ageism.
The documentary features plenty of other people in the 90-and-older age group, including Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, and Kirk Douglas, who share their unique perspectives on living life to the fullest. It also highlights some amazing accomplishments, like those of Ida Keeling, who began running at 67 and set a record in the 100-meter dash at age 100.
Though this doesn’t account for seniors who face mobility and other health challenges, the message is still valuable. “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” is well worth watching, especially if you’re tired of ageism in other media. If you have an HBO subscription (or know someone who does) you can watch it on HBO.com.
What are your favorite movies or documentaries about older adults or aging? Let us know in the comments below!