Hollywood hints at real life

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

Some friends and I went to see “Going in Style” the other night. That's the new film starring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as retired co-workers who decide to rob a bank after learning that their pension plan is being dissolved. (You can watch the trailer below.)

My friends looked forward to escaping from the real world for 90 minutes. I looked forward to seeing whether aging and older adults were portrayed realistically on the big screen.

At dessert afterward, my friends and I agreed that, although characters in the film don't always treat the three gentlemen with respect — one is called an “old-timer,” for instance — the movie itself generally does. Scenes convey that retirement is still a time when older adults can learn new skills (in this case, how to steal money), fall in love, view life with a sense of humor and enjoy time with family members and friends they've known for years.

In fact, the value of companionship is a strong takeaway from the film. The characters played by Caine, Freeman and Arkin still lived and functioned independently, but seeing their bond on screen reminded me that senior living communities can help older adults feel less isolated if they aren't in such a situation.

The movie's premise also recalled for me the real-life challenges facing many older adults who did not adequately plan for some of the expenses associated with aging — or whose best-laid plans fell apart, perhaps because of something beyond their control. Those are occurrences that the senior living industry is trying to address in part through studies of the financing of long-term care and the demand for middle-market seniors housing.

“Going in Style” may not be an Oscar contender next year, but right now it's an entertaining way to spend a little time enjoying veteran actors — Caine, by the way, is 84, Arkin is 83 and Freeman is 79 — excelling at their craft. Keep it in mind for your activities calendar.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers.


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