Remembering the past, enhancing the present and sharing the future

A qualitative study of the impact of film screenings in care home communities

Jenna P Breckenridge, Thilo Kroll, Gavin Wylie, Ana Salzberg: Ageing and Society, vol 41, no 11, November 2021

Many care home residents lack opportunities for meaningful activity and social connection, resulting in poor physical and emotional well-being. Providing residents with varied activities and social opportunities can improve their quality of life. In this paper, the authors examine the potential for film to provide a meaningful, social activity. The limited existing research on film in care homes has predominantly examined the use of film clips and materials in stimulating reminiscence for people with dementia. The authors adopt a broader, transdisciplinary perspective of film, drawing on evidence from Film Studies that shared spectatorship has social and emotional benefits for the viewer. The authors offer the first qualitative study of care home residents’ social, emotional and embodied engagement with feature length film and identify the key benefits of film in this setting. They ran social film screenings in two Scottish care homes over six weeks. Underpinned by psychocinematic theory, their study collected and analysed observational data alongside interviews with care home staff and discussion groups with residents. Their findings identified three ways in which film screenings benefit residents and supports social connection: prompting reminiscence; enhancing residents’ experiences in the present; and creating a shared future and intergenerational connections. The paper offers useful insights into the rich potential for film to enhance the care home community, facilitate social connectivity and promote resident well-being.


Centre for Policy on Ageing source:

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