As someone who lives in the oldest county of the oldest state in the nation, I wasn’t surprised to see our local movie theater filled with older Mainers eagerly awaiting the sequel to the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” For those who are not moviegoers, the film portrays the challenges and joys faced by a group of elderly British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to a less expensive and seemingly exotic palace in Jaipur, India. Their new home turns out to be the decrepit but charming “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
As the story unfolded, I thought about what made the film so popular with the older crowd. Certainly there’s the outstanding cast (anything with Maggie Smith and Judy Dench is sure to please), but I suspect it’s the lessons in senior living that captures people’s attention:
At MeHAF, we are working with organizations in communities across Maine to figure out how we can help people (including many older Mainers) with chronic illnesses remain as healthy as they can be and live independently in their homes and communities. This initiative, called “Thriving in Place,” is trying to provide the same experiences and supports that we’d find if each community had their own Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
We can’t weave in the same type of cultural experience that our British ex-pats indulge in every day, but we can certainly provide the same balance of independence and support with close relationships that ensures a sense of dignity and purpose for older residents.
What are your thoughts about what it would take to make every Maine community a locale where we could all “Thrive in Place?”
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