Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What is your vision for the future of elder care?

Welcome to the comment site for The Journey Home film.

This site was set up to provide a place for people tocomment on their thoughts about the future of
elder care after viewing The Journey Home.

So we ask you... what is YOUR vision for the future of elder care?


  1. This film reminds me of something Ingmar Bergman would create around this issue. Lots of layers that make you think--in such a short format! Great job! My vision of the future of elder care is staying in our homes with care coming into the home. I think Boomers want independence along with keeping a sense of who they are in their community. We don't want to be treated like we are less significant--put away in a facility and forgotten. This film shakes us up to see what the reality could be. Thanks!

  2. Overall an interesting film. The visuals, set, actors and props were creative and well done. It was good that you kept the story straightforward (blunt even). It is likely to stimulate discussion which was your intent. One question is about the vision of this as a possible or likely future care option. This seemed more surreal than I would anticipate - it almost seemed like the patient was going to be frozen (cryogenics?) for a future life! The music added to that feeling for me. I would think future issues to more likely revolve around overcrowding, resource shortages and degraded services. Have you heard this reaction from others who've seen it?

  3. My mother and mother-in-law are age 94 and reside in nursing homes. The Journey Home facility makes their care appear first-class when it's just warehousing. The film reminds us that elder care can become the victim of efficiency, technology, and cost-effectiveness. Hopefully, the film will encourage public policy advocacy and private initiatives to create new community-based programs that reduce the negative aspects (illness, loneliness,dependency).
    Paul Arfin

  4. Wow, it is amazing that you produced such a professional film on a low budget. The special effects were great, and I can see how it can be used for different classes, even if it is the same cohort.

  5. Jim,

    Congratulations to you and your crew for the creation of this piece. The ideas in it haunted me and I am plagued with the question that is posed. No answers yet...

    Keep making films that ask questions and open conversation!

  6. The film was incredible. I really enjoyed the use of black and white. The music and sound effects were very mood setting as well. It was so important to me that she had on her bracelet and wedding ring, it really humanized the character and reminded me of what was left behind (family, grandchildren, spouse) even prior to her journey home.

    For some reason her jewelry really made me ruminate on how lonely this process can be and how important it is to respect and give credit to who patients are individually.

    The film is visually really beautiful and provocative.
    Thank you for creating something that will make us wake up and realize the enormity of what is about to take over our communities. If we are prepared each and every person will have quality of life well into old age. m.

  7. I really enjoyed this film! The special effects were great and captured my attention all way through.

    One thing that I kept feeling while watching this film though was lonliness for the woman. Even though staff had attempted to make her "journey home" one filled with memories, the whole process seemed inpersonal and detached. Very clinical/medical/and cold, much like a cold slab in a coroner's office.

    It was so sad that no family or friends were present to help share this woman's memories; instead these memories were drug induced and facilitated through technology.

    It's a reminder that while technological advancements are wonderful, nothing takes the place of good 'ol fashioned HUMAN interaction.

    -Rosalind S.

    1. Perhaps there is reality in the fact that she had no family or friends. It isn't uncommon for aging members of the community to out live their friends and family. Maybe that is why she was crying when she was experiencing her journey home.

  8. This film is a wake up call to everyone. It can be viewed as negative or positive depending on how much you can relate to what options are available to the elderly today.

    I would gladly pick virtual memories and a quite setting compared to a warehouse nursing home. The smells, sounds, as well as the institutional mentality of making the all mighty dollar goes against the pretty brochures your family will see.

    The bottom line is we come into the world alone and leave the same way. This film gives options and choices for our future. It is up to those who will need services to determine at what costs can we buy away guilt, emotions, dignity, and a life that still needs to be lived?

    Great short film, sounds and special effects are great, and in keeping the dialog simple has freed the mind to fill in the blanks.

  9. This very creative film is an eye opener! We all have someone special in our life that is older and wants the best for them. Living in a world that cold and empty is not a great way to live out their elderly years.

  10. I thought the film was visually very beautiful and thought provoking. The use of black and white was stunning.

    If this film were shown to a classroom I would ask, can the future of care look like this with the way our policy and economy is set up?

    How do we begin to start planning to care for our aging population as a society so that everyone's needs are met?

    I very much liked that the main character had her jewelry on it made her very real to me.

    Thank you Dr. G. for sharing this amazing movie, minnie

  11. This film is quite an eye opener. The fact that this lady only had her memories at the end of life is good however there is a lack of human compassion, even limited human touch. At what point were these specific memories captured or were they memories that were actually present at the moment?

    Where is the dignity, the respect and the wisdom that comes with the contributions that have been been during a lifetime?

    Thanks for presenting the opportunity to really think about how end of life could be.


  12. This film was realistic of what our future elder-care will emulate if no respectable changes occur to public policies on aging and/or caring for an approaching increased population. There was disconnection between the professional and patient, so much that care did not appear to be implemented. I watched this film numerous times assuming I was overreacting to the scarceness of human race within this setting. The reality is the film is innovative towards possible truths and the consequences of not taking this matter serious. The gravity of the film is self explanatory, where is the reverence for making ones transition home? How can one begin to fathom allowing technology to totally capture our being and just page us from one patient to the next?

    This film was very artistic with a powerful message. Thanks, for sharing this with your students.

  13. After viewing this incredible and powerfully moving film, it is clear that there are just too many older adults without a voice in this aging world. DR. G. did an excellent job portraying how real life is for older adults in their own world of silence.I hope that each person that views this film has the same realization as I did, and still have, reminding all of us that we too, will be this older individual with the same emotions and feelings about getting older. It takes someone like you and me to be that "voice" for each older adult. It is time to reach out and help those who cannot help themselves in a siuation such as the woman in the film. It is time for all of us to be heard!

    Thank you sharing this remarkable film, Dr. G!!! nice work!!!

  14. This film is very interesting in exploring the future health care system. Exploring the human mind and creating or causing one to remember pleasent experiencs how can one guard against remembering unpleasent experience that usually lies in the shadows of pleasants experiences? What is really distrubing is the progressiveness of technology and who's to say when it's has gone to far? Who's policing technology? D.Stubbs

  15. This short film was definitely an eye opener for me that I watched it twice. Over the past seven weeks I have thought about myself maybe one day needing long-term care. I am now in my middle adulthood and cannot ignore the fact that this could possibly be me or a loved one. It is scary when you actually sit and think about it, but such a reality. The elderly lady in the film looked so afraid and lonely. The two nurses just entered her room not explaining what they were doing and restrained the elderly lady before removing her from her room. It is imperative that we think about our future of elder care and not rely on the government to make any concrete plans. Everyone need to see this short film, it is very powerful and will make one think about their own future of eldercare. As the commercials that I often see on TV says, “Enjoy your independence while you can.” Kimberly Knox

    1. What steps have you taken that include elder care in your future?

  16. Karen Asheh, BSWMay 29, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Part 1

    I found the film very interesting and symbolic on multiple levels. First, it fascinates me that one person’s question could provoke your psych to give you such a profound and symbolic dream about the future of long term care. For someone who interprets dreams or studies the symbolic meanings of dreams, this might say a lot about you as a person and how you view life in general.

    To dream of gold is symbolic of the light of the world, an everlasting peace. The film seemed to be adamant about showing her gold wedding rings and gold jewelry and even in the backlight when she was at lake, the colors reflected gold. This could have a connotation to your personal religious belief of everlasting life (John 3:16, 9:5, 12:46 or Luke 2:32). Or in a dream gold could be symbolic of the passage of life.

    Sunflowers, which are what she seemed to be very fond of, represent warmth and prosperity and a house is a representation of tranquility. To dream of a crow represents death in a dream or some type of message from the subconscious. The fact that when she was seeing images or making connections to her past was equally important to me when I watched the film. Her happiness came from grandchildren, birds, nature, and working puzzles (connection to family); which from a dream perspective, could have some simulation to the things that you value as a person. After all, this came in a dream to you rather than in waking thoughts.

  17. Karen Asheh, BSWMay 29, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Part 2

    When I saw the film the first time, and for the first few seconds into the movie, I was shocked at the thought that you are well versed in aging and would create a film so morbid, so cold, and thoughtless (I though they were killing her; or mercy killing). I was praying that no depressed, lonely elderly person watched this movie and didn’t finish it and decided to commit suicide because they felt their life had no value (smile). One could see it as an invitation to leave this world for a better place because there are no words and it is open for interpretation.

    As part of the coursework curriculum, on the other had, I think the film was very thought provoking. You did symbolize the diversity that we might see in long term care and with future caregivers in long term settings. Also, it did portray the lack of humanistic behavior that comes with technology. What I actually thought about at the end of the movie is what a wonderful thing this could be and do for a person who has chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss. We don’t know what is in their mind, but we assume there is no recollection of the past. I think it would be very cool to allow them to have doses of memory. This might create longevity to their life, but then there would be ethical issues such as who defines quality of life.

    The positive side in the movie is that there is an ability to touch with this type of technology without using gloves which is very compassionate. We don’t know why there was no verbal communication. Perhaps the patient was non-hearing; and the staff did smile, they did touch, she was allowed to have pictures on her bed. We don’t know if the tears she cried as she was remembering were tears of joy from being able to have that type of memory or tears of pain because she recognized she was no longer that person. If I could have kept my dad alive and through technology take him to a place where he was happy, I might be tempted to try this type of long term care. Then again, that would be selfish of me to wish he could hang on beyond his time, wouldn’t it?

    I suppose my cup is always half full and as bizarre as this film seems to be, I think this type of peace in long term care would be much preferred over what we have now in some of the long term care facilities. I watched your interview on the film and I do understand your thoughts behind the film and it could provoke its audience in to taking a deeper look at the future of long term care. If I had to choose between the film and the broken, neglectful, and dignity stripping solutions we have now for long term care, I would prefer The Journey Home.

  18. Diane Gaffney-Graduate studentMay 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Dr G.,

    What an excellent film. It was a film that was thought provoking on Eldercare. I especially like the woman's flashbacks over life. Her knitting and sharing time with her grandchildren,the gold ring signifying the newness of life,often associated with royalty. Some royalty in Egyptian culture would bury themselves with their precious jewels and amongst them were gold rings. The woman while looking at her life had her precious gold with her and it gave her hope not a reason to die.

    How does Eldercare look for my future?

    Eldercare for me is independently living at home and utilizing the resources in my community for seniors.It will involve family and friends support also.

    A question you could you could ask the audience after the film was shown.

    Will assisted suicide be the future for elder's request do to lonliness and illness that is often associated with eldercare?

    It was a great film and I am following you now with vimeo now. I will contact you next week for suggestions about my buiness idea that I told you about. Your film work could be something I show seniors in my comunity with my new business idea,merging the arts and Gerontology.

    The Journey Home's title rings true for many elders.While in Eldercare they need familiarity around them,what reminds them of the joy of life.

    Thank you for the film and listening to my feedback,


  19. I know technology is advancing all the time but I could not see that far into the future. The events seem a bit unrealistic to me. When i saw the film, a few things came to mind. First I thought about death through lethal injection. Then I automatically went to the thought of assisted suicide. Overall it was a nice concept to make the lady see happiness without actually dying.


  20. Dr G.,

    This video definitely made me think. First of all, being set in the year 2030 and having staff make the same comment, that they would not want their family member in a place like that, as I heard when my mother-in-law was in a nursing home after a stroke was quite sad. The hope is that as healthcare progresses, care for the elderly would also progress. It is also a little frightening, when thinking about my own parents who are not doing very well right now, and the possibility that they might need placement at some point in the near future.

    This film pointed out that quality of life is a very big issue that must be addressed in Eldercare. I used to go and visit my mother-in-law at a local nursing home and I remember thinking that, these people all live in this facility but they seem so detached from one another and from the staff. Almost all of them had a vacant look on their faces and seemed lost and alone. There was very little interaction between themselves and the staff, except for maybe meal time or when a family member would arrive. Once that family member was gone the individual went back to being invisible or forgotten. I knew that my mother-in-law was treated the same way when we weren’t there. How is this quality of life? It’s heartbreaking to think that after spending so many years as a member of a society an individual can be placed in a storage facility until they pass away and that very often they are forgotten by that society and, in some cases, their families. To me this video points out this same perspective.

    By the way, we were able to get my mother-in-law back to her home with a family member and home health care after she recuperated for several months. She was never quite the same after the stroke but I believe that time spent in the nursing home also had a negative impact on her. She would often cry while there and say how much she wanted to be home and how she did not want to be in that type of environment. She often said she no longer felt like a person and felt she was a burden on everyone. She was also terrified that she would be placed back in that facility, or one like it. I believe that having to be in the nursing facility caused her to lose her will to fight and she passed away about a month after being taken home.

    Christine Jones

  21. Dr. G. I originally viewed this film as uncaring and unemotional. As the film progressed, my feelings altered to believe that the simulation was one where someone in their later stages of life could find fulillment with memories from the past. As with many others, I was concerned with the lack of feeling and emotional interactions that were displyed. If technology has the capacity to endeavor something of this magnitude,one must also remember the impact of simple conversation and acts of kindess that a single touch can generate in someone. In a nursing home setting, if an elder does not have family come to visit, this stimulation must often come from the staff. My initial feeling was one of dread but I can also see how technological advancements can assist the elderly. I was a little confused at the beginning how the workers were commenting that they do not wish their parents to be in this facility and then were restrained to show little compassion, but it could appear that they wished to show more interaction. I truly hope that future training in staff continues along a medical path, but also a compassionate one as well.

  22. Prior to watching the film, I had honestly not put any thought into the future of eldercare. As I continued to watch, there were so many emotions, but shock was maybe the one that stood out the most. The film was really an eye opener to the possibilities of what the future holds for those that will be seeking long-term care in a facility. After watching, I have gained a new respect for families who opt to take care of aging family members instead of chosing to place them in long-term care facilities.

  23. Dr. G,

    This film was very thought provoking. I immediately began to reminisce about my grandfather's recent journey home. I remember being very unsatisfied with the care that he was receiving while in the nursing home. The film also made me think about the nurses who cared for my grandfather in the nursing home, and how their personal lives could have played a part in how they interacted with the patients. It is easy to tell people to keep their personal and professional lives separate, however, obstacles affect different people in different ways and everyone has to deal with their own obstacles the best way that they know how. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing more about this film.

  24. At the beginning of this of this film the first reaction was that it was very sterile, cold, and dispassionate. Also, if this is the atmosphere of what is to come in 2030 then, it is very frightening.
    In listening to Dr. Gambone's interview my question was answered about what appeared to an injection to euthonize the patient. However, it was somewhat comforting to see it was a preparation step to view her past life.
    Yet, overall this film was an eye-opener to what could be the future if positve steps do not begin now to address and develope what society "wants" to future of elder-care to be, that is, involved families, compassion, sensitivity, love and caring, and most of all elders having their say in what type of care they desire and should expect.

    Hattie Wyatt

  25. Jeanette Garcia comments:What a fantastic short film! It reminded me of the classic Twilight Zone, because it felt surreal.In regards to continuity and activity well, technology will see to it that you get it, if you can afford it. My thoughts on the film was that this nursing home catered to the afluent elderly, the nurses spoke spanish and it appeared that language would not be a problem as technology would take care of all that, no voices, no touch, or emotions except when she was hooked up to the virtual reality monitor. It appeared as what I was watching was not real, too cold and the actress had no say, voiceless. Though only ten minutes I was moved with emotion when she envisioned but couldnot touch her grandchildren. I would rather be cared for at home and know that to receive this care I will have to matter to this generation and those to come, and to think I could be left alone being fed virtual reality movies in replacement of real touch, bonding, love and affection is just to difficult to ponder. Fantastic movie!

  26. Donnamaria PrinceMarch 5, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    As an older adult, 60 years, I enjoyed the Journey Home as a nursing home facility of the future. I enjoyed the quality of the production and its message. Years ago I viewed a movie named Solvent Green, with Charleston Heston and Edward G. Robinson, boomers know who I am talking about. In this movie people were euthanized but as they went to eternal sleep they were in a clean bed, in a room with pictures on a wide screen, of animals, trees, flowers, all the things that made life worth living, that no longer existed. In the Journey Home I found peace in the treatment because decades ago I was presented with this concept and agreed and still do agree with it. I believe I feel this way because at the age of twenty-two I was in a coma for seven days and in hospital for three months. This experience has made me decide that I do not want to ever be put on life support again. These wishes have been made known to my family.
    Actually, my eldest son whom is my proxy, watched The Journey Home with me. I explained that if I could not be taken care of at home; as far as I am concerned this form of eldercare compared to what goes on in nursing homes in the year 2013, abuse, would be more humane. Yes, I know it would be impersonal but that would cut down on elderly abuse in nursing homes. Also I come from a culture where a clean bed and not being alone when a body dies is the goal. Yet, I can understand how others would find this repulsive.
    I sort of equated The Journey Home with the humane way in which citizens are now given lethal injections instead of the gas chambers and electrocutions. Don't necessarily agree but best choice, to my liking.

  27. Dr.G
    This film examines the future of elder care. Society and technology play a major role in the future of elder care. I wonder how will the caretakers or relatives afford this type of care for their elderly loved one. Eventhough technology is constantly improving there is still room for error's referencing the tablet that informs the nurse that the patient is ready for their journey. I have often wondered if the person reaching end of life has visions. The setting seemed a little cold referencing the staff and no family members were present. I was just wondering about the injection was this susposed to assist with the journey home, then she returns back to her room to die alone? This film is an eyeopener for anyone who has an elderly family member that will have to face the same dilema.

  28. KA, Care Manager for Older AdultsMarch 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    This film was very thought provoking and I think my initial reaction was the same as most people who watch the film for the first time; absolutely shocked! I was shocked at what the future might really hold for LTC. I hope that everyone who views this film will not stop with just viewing the film, but will take a look at the link below the film and the page in its entirety. Understanding your passion, your mission and vision of the film puts the film in perspective. Your diverse background and passion for the future of our older adults is obvious. I hope this film continues to induce critical thinking among students and professional alike as we all set forth on this long journey towards home or as you clearly put it “The Journey Home”. After all, from the time we are born and going forward we ARE on “The Journey Home”……The curriculum version of this film would be a very thought provoking film for students who have a passion for working with older adults.

  29. Dr. G
    This Damon Thompson, I really enjoyed the short film. The climax released a suspense that allow me to ponder about the future of long term care. I like the way you allowed the elder in the film to enjoy life from her perspective. I was wondering, what will happen when she walk towards the lake?

  30. Quanda Holman,
    This video definitely made me think about the elderly population’s future. In the year 2030 I will be 52 years old, very close to that population range and it scares me to think that one day this could be me. Watching this film and hearing the staff member making such comments really frightened me. Knowing a staff member would not send their own family member to the place that they work for care leaves me to believe that things are not right within that establishment. This film also hits home for me and my family. My mother’s sister recently been placed in a nursing home this past year and my mother reasoned some concerns regarding her sister’s care. Because people are living longer there is a need for long term care. My hope is as healthcare progresses, the care for our elderly will also progress. This film also points out that the quality of life is an issue that we must address in regards to eldercare. Unfortunately, when we send our loved ones to a long term care facility we do not personally know the staff members who will be caring for our loved ones. That’s way it is so important for family members to stay involved and connected to what’s going on. My vision of the future of elder care is once we reach that stage of our life when we need long term care we will be able to stay in the comfort of our own home where care can be provide to us. I believe the Boomer agers want independence along with keeping a sense of who they are in their community.

  31. The modern technology of the patient staff interaction was different. I was not impressed by the informal and impersonal care by the staff. The virtual presentation was impressive, but I would prefer a more personal touch for my love ones journey home. There was no verbal communication between the staff and patient. The film brought me to the realization that our long term care can come to this. The patient reaction to the virtual reality presentation was very emotional for her, but the staff treated her like a machine. This is not a facility I would want myself or one of my love ones in.

  32. Kristen RichardsonMarch 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    This film was suspenseful. At first, I couldn't believe that elderly care had become a place where life is just terminated! I honestly thought that is what was happening in this film. What a surprise! Am I hoping this is the future? Absolutely. Imagine the peace, joy, and satisfaction an elderly patient would have when they are able to go to a place they would otherwise be unable to access?
    The facility is somewhat alarming, however. If the nurses had been more personable (Though holding the lady's hand was a nice touch), then perhaps this would be a nice place to spend time. However, the people seemed like numbers, and even the nurses didn't want their own family there! Makes you wonder.

  33. Desouza,
    Dr G,
    I watch the film and found it very interesting; the great use of technology used for journey home and provides a peaceful setting was great. It made me wonder what the future holds for elderly care in the future. Will it be so impersonal, lonely and lack life, its missing love and physical contact and communication. Yes, she had a journey back to walk her dogs, feed the birds and hug her grandchild, but where is the rest of the family? Are we facing a future of elderly care alone? Overall, I really like this film; it does make you wonder what the future holds for elderly care.

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