Meeting friends and maybe even a special someone for those in their 70s and older is the focus of a film that will be screened in Syracuse Thursday night. The Age of Love focuses on the issues behind elderly friendships and relationships that often go deeper than just having companions.
Screening and Panel on Relationships and Aging Thursday @ 5:30 pm, Everson Museum, Syracuse
How about speed dating for those age 70 to 90? That’s what the director Steven Loring of The Age of Love discovered as a great way to get into all the issues around relationships for the elderly. He admits people chuckle at the speed dating … but underlying are potential problems that can be solved after someone’s widowed or just by themselves.
“It just feeds into our sense of aging and depression and all the stereotypes that come with age. It really is an issue we have to more primary than we have. It’s not a secondary issue in aging.”
Chief of Geriatrics at Upstate Medical University Doctor Sharon Brangman agrees there are solid health and wellness reasons for older people to have companionship and love. Some are mental health related, staving off depression, say … but even physical health concerns. She finds friends and relatives can actually get in the way .
“They may see parents, after a long relationship, a spouse may die or divorce and (children) may not think it’s viable for the remaining spouse to date or ’replace’ that parent. I’ve seen adult children who are very negative about it and discouraging o their parents. And I see others that are very encouraging.”
Brangman adds stereotypes that show only young people romantic hurt. The emotions and even physical intimacy, she says, stay active into the 80s and beyond.
Loring hopes to see attitudes change … but also for people to age consciously to prepare for these kinds of needs.
“The biggest thing I see among older adults that is a detriment to their well-being is that they haven’t really planned ahead. They haven’t expected to be alone and to need to create new connections. There’s a sense in our society that medicine will take care of all our needs as we get older, but medicine doesn’t take care of our heart and our emotional lives.”
He’s shown the film around 200 times and says it starts to change attitudes – even among young people, who want their grandparents happy.
And some places have started their own elderly speed dating.
The film is being presented by Bousquet Holstein and Upstate Medical University Geriatrics
A free showing of The Age of Love is Thursday, Mar 15, at the Everson Museum starting at 5:30. A panel will follow with Director Steven Loring, Upstate Geriatric Doctor Brangman and SU Professor Emeritus Marvin Druger, WAER contributor and columnist for 55-Plus magazine to discuss dating and love