Videos combats ageism by connecting women of different generations

Revera project addressing a serious issue

A video series produced by long-term care and retirement-home operator Revera Inc. is connecting women from different generations — and combatting ageism in the process.

In 2013, Revera launched its Age is More video series to quash common stereotypes of older generations by giving seniors a forum to tell their own unique stories. The latest video series, called Women’s Wisdom, saw young women involved with Reel Youth, an organization of young filmmakers, connect with seniors living in Revera’s retirement homes to share their stories.

Revera recently surveyed four age groups — Generation Y (18-32), Generation X (33-45), baby boomers (46-65), seniors (66-74) and older seniors (75-plus) — about their opinions of aging. Results indicated that seniors, women more than men, are positive about their later years, saying things like “age is just a number” and “the best is yet to come.”

However, generations X and Y had the least positive perception of aging, with 78 per cent of females in Generation Y being the most likely of all age groups to fear aging.

Experts say a lack of interaction between people of different generations is responsible for the fear of aging amongst younger Canadian women. The Women’s Wisdom film project, which consists of 10 videos, was the perfect venue to create positive change, says Dr. Jane Barratt.

“The important thing is the process — it’s the process of young women and older women working together on the project,” says Barratt, secretary general of the International Federation on Ageing.

“What does that do? It gives them the opportunity to share experience. It’s about sharing experiences and connecting on a number of different issues.”

Barratt says the fear of aging amongst younger women isn’t about just getting older.

“It’s a much more serious issue,” she says. “It’s about fear of losing mental capacity, physical abilities and independence.

“It’s also about saying to the younger women, ‘At 80, I can be vibrant and functional and contribute, just as you are contributing at 45,’” Barratt adds. “The films are the end product of generations coming together and connecting in a very unique way.”

Deea Linehan, vice-president of operations for Revera’s retirement living division, agrees. While it was vital to bring these women’s stories to the public eye, the interaction of the two groups of women was equally important, she says.

“We have this whole generation of people who don’t mix with the other generations that much,” Linehan says. “Part of our partnership with Reel Youth is to get those groups together, get them talking and help them learn more about each other. We’re trying to educate younger women about the seniors’ perspective on aging — they’ve been there and done that.”

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