Many Americans assume that nursing homes will be the common destination for people growing old and frail, however, even those living in supposedly perfect continuing-care centers are still at risk for experiencing neglect, sub-quality care, and loss of freedom. Instead of moving into “the last stop before the cemetery,” the increasing American seniors have been expressing the desire to age at their homes and communities.
With the background of the senior village movement in the United States, My Darling, Stay Gold shadows a group of senior residents in their 70s and 80s who live scattered throughout the Mount Pleasant neighborhood and are members of Mount Pleasant Village, one of thirteen senior villages in Washington, D.C. Senior Villages, sometimes referred to as “villages,” are networks loosely developed in neighborhoods and generally organized and operated by older adults who want to stay in their homes. Village members develop social activities and provide mutual support and services, like house repairs, grocery shopping, and help getting to and from the doctors’ appointments. To tackle the growing crises of aging populations, the senior villages have quickly spread across the country under the encouragement of the federal government as an innovative and promising solution.
Raised by my grandparents in a senior community, I witnessed how easily the voice of the old generation could be muted and misrepresented. Grappling with the fear of aging and death, they are always anxiously in search of listeners. Through still photography, documentary video, and reporting article, this project explores how American seniors have been trying to break down people’s stereotypical representations over the old generation and build up a senior “utopia” for themselves where they could support each other to celebrate the opportunities and meet the challenges of aging.