COVID-19 has presented us with a variety of challenges, and our teams have been facing them head on to ensure our residents are supported, safe and also emotionally stimulated. Achieving this balance takes creativity, innovation and flexibility. To that end, Revera has been developing programs that are designed to keep our residents active while helping to combat isolation and loneliness. It’s in that spirit that we re-imagined the Age Is More Film Project.
The Revera and Reel Youth Age Is More Film Project is a collaboration that brings younger and older people together to build intergenerational friendships. Reel Youth recruits and teaches young people the technical skills needed to produce their own short film and each young person is partnered with a Revera resident to be the subject of their film. Through the filming process, both our residents and the young filmmakers are encouraged to get to know each other through community building activities and interviews.
Typically, these projects occur in person and on location at one of our retirement residences. Physical distancing guidelines prevented this from happening so Revera and Reel Youth thought outside the box to come up with a solution to take the program virtual. Nine residents from three residences – Colonel By in Ottawa, ON, The Renoir in Newmarket, ON, and McConachie Gardens in Edmonton, AB –teamed up with young people from across Canada – from British Columbia to Nova Scotia – and were brought together through video chats. All interviews and filming took place online giving people who would never have had the opportunity to meet before the chance to collaborate and build connections.
Going virtual and filming online allowed Revera and Reel Youth to expand this project to be truly national. In this time of physical distancing, we believe that it’s more important than ever before to create new relationships that can defy borders and physical limitations. Together, the youth and film stars created a poem based on a standard template that shared the little moments in our residents’ lives that helped to form them into the people they are today. The youth then worked with the residents to record themselves and various footage that would be used to put the final films together.
The nine short films premiered on Revera’s Facebook page on National Seniors Day in a gala that reunited the filmmakers and film stars to celebrate their work and their new formed friendships. It was also an opportunity to invite friends and family members from across Canada and beyond to finally see the films and bask in the limelight despite physical distancing.
The premiere also emphasized the importance of giving back to those in society who could use a hand during these difficult times. Revera began working with Habitat for Humanity Canada in 2018 and since then has raised more than $1 million to help support families across Canada realize the dream of affordable home ownership. The virtual Age Is More Film Gala brought people together to help raise awareness of the important work Habitat for Humanity Canada does and also give the chance for people to contribute to this work. If you are able to support, we ask that you kindly make a donation of any size to Habitat for Humanity Canada.
Like everyone, we look forward to a time when we can safely gather, share a laugh and a hug. But until it’s safe to do so, we will continue to rethink senior living and ways to bring people together to keep our residents healthy, happy, engaged and safe. We are all in this together.
Watch the premiere of the Age Is More Film Project: Building Connections.