Poster for Age Of Loving documentary. (Contributed)

Seniors embrace aging

Documentary screenings for The Age Of Love to kick off Okanagan Embrace Aging month.

The baby boomer generation is embracing their search for love well into the golden years of their lives.

The past generation stigma of 70 to 90 year-olds living isolated, sometimes miserable and often lonely lives is no longer acceptable.

“Whether it’s changing perceptions about aging, hearing new research or learning need ways to stay active and connected, learning about new ideas and discoveries give us all a chance to reflect on what we can do now to make a difference in our health and wellbeing as we age,” said Joan Bottorff, director of UBC’s Institute of Health Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.

Interior Savings Credit Union has embraced Bottorff’s philosophy about aging by screening an ward-winning documentary across the Okanagan next month about speed dating for seniors, called The Aging Of Love.

The film will be shown in Vernon, March 1, at the Vernon Towne Cinema; March 2 in Kelowna at the Rotary Centre for the Arts; March 3 at the Landmark Encore Cinema in West Kelowna; and March 14, at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver.

The film’s New York-based director Steven Loring will introduce the film at the three showings in Vernon, West Kelowna and Kelowna.

“We recognize ageism as an issue in our society and we are working together to help build more age-friendly communities,” said Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway, who called the film a fitting way to usher in March as Okanagan Embrace Aging Month.

Loring said the documentary was released two years ago, depicting the adventures of 30 seniors in Rochester, NY, who signed up for a seniors’ speed dating event for the first time in their lives.

He has since screened the film at more than 60 communities around the world, including stops in Poland, Russia, Australia and Brazil.

“The film is about a speed dating event but it has a wider message about how seniors today want to live their lives, who don’t want to be isolated and lonely, so I’ve taken it to major conferences and rolled it out at university showings,” he said.

“I’m kind of a one-man team marketing this film all over the world before selling the rights for release on DVD or Netflix.”

Loring said the idea to make the film developed from the experience of his mom, after his dad passed away when she was 70.

“She said to me one day, nobody is ever going to hug me again now that our dad is gone. I had not thought of that. In that situation, you think about dealing with the house and getting the paperwork squared away.” Loring said.

“But you tend to forget about the everyday part of life of being touched by someone and being part of team, and now you are just old.”

Loring said he also had a 78-year-old uncle residing in an assisted living seniors’ community with no personal fears of his own or history of assisted living neglect. Having lost his wife, Loring said the family was caught off-guard when he fell in love with an 80-year-old woman living in the same facility.

“He opened up to her in a way I didn’t think was possible in searching for companionship,” he said.

“The generation of seniors today still want to get out and live. My grandparents were of the era where being in their late 60s was old, aging was about decline and living in comfort and security.

“Today, my mom is 80 and works out at a gym three times a week with a personal trainer and she can probably outlift me.”

Loring said in seeking permission to film the adults in his documentary, he was stunned by how open they were to the process, as all 30 people he asked signed off on it.

“The first woman I asked said she was 75 years old, her kids loved her, her kids to everything they are supposed to do to support her, but her family was not what was in her heart at this point in her life, she didn’t want to lead an invisible life,” Loring said.

“As I talked with more and more of the people you see in the film, I began to realize I was touching a nerve. Seniors today still want to get out and live.”

To get a free ticket to an Age Of Loving screening or learn about other Okanagan Embrace Aging Month events, got to interiorsavings.com/events.

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