This weekend I rented an excellent movie entitled "The Savages". Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney and Philip Bosco, it is the story of a brother and sister, estranged from their father, who receive a call when Dad’s girlfriend, whom he has been living with for 20 years, dies.
Dad has dementia and the children are told by his girlfriend’s children that they must take Dad back with them since the home is not his. They fly him back to New York and place him in a nursing home.
The story deals with the relationships of the characters, the upheaval of their lives and the typical issues that we all must deal with, from finding the right long term care setting to sitting down with Dad to discuss his living will and burial arrangements to the conflicting emotions felt by the children who are trying to do the right thing.
The film even touches upon second marriages (or in this case a long term relationship). The children are stunned to learn that Dad has no right to live in the home because he signed an agreement waiving all rights. Having little money, his children must place him in a nursing home and apply for Medicaid.
The movie is both funny and sad but it is comforting to know that we all, regardless of wealth, cannot escape the issues of aging and dying and that sometimes the experience can bring families closer together.