“Is there power in community in terms of growing old?”
In December 2013 Boulder film maker Alan O’Hashi experienced a near death experience with a rare lung disease “at the time I was pretty bad health wise and for whatever reason I was able to make this comeback and I recovered for the most part fully.” His health crisis got him thinking about what would happen to him as he aged and possibly faced other health crises “the aha! moment for me was being visited by Charles Dickens’ ghost of Christmas yet-to-come and I got a glimpse of what it might be like when I was 90 and I couldn’t walk and couldn’t feed myself.”
O’Hashi lives in Silver Sage Village, a senior co-housing community in North Boulder comprised of 16 houses with 25 people all over the age of 50. “I had gotten ill and wondered if this community was going to step up and help out and work with myself and my caregivers to get me through all of this.” The community did step up and O’Hashi says it was a very positive experience, particularly when he first got home from rehab “people brought over food and people were just being around and being very neighborly.” O’Hashi says that other neighbors were also experiencing aging and health issues from Alzheimer’s disease to Parkinson’s, and combined with his own health experience, O’Hashi started to look at co-housing as a real option for seniors who want to age in place “I wondered…is there power in community in terms of growing old?”
O’Hashi explores those themes and his own journey in aging in the new documentary Aging Gratefully.