How A Little Alien Reminds Us to Support Seniors’ Independent LivingIn the movie Jules, three senior citizens meet an extraterrestrial. The movie explores the relative isolation of older Americans in the 21st century, at a time when technology supposedly brings everyone closer together. 

 The setting is Boonton, Pennsylvania, a rural town in which a 1960s-looking flying saucer crashed in the backyard of a man named Milton Robinson. At 78, Milton suffers from dementia, which is established early in the story by showing him asking the same two questions repeatedly at the weekly city council meetings and putting a can of green beans in an upstairs bathroom medicine cabinet. 

 Milton doesn’t have much regular contact with anyone but his veterinarian daughter Denise. However, he does see Sandy and Joyce, two other regulars at the city council meetings. The subjects of time, memory, the past, and regrets about mistakes are woven into the story. 

 After the flying saucer crashes in Milton’s backyard and the title character, a little gray creature who never speaks but makes powerful eye contact, shows up, the movie changes its focus. Milton, Sandy, Joyce, and Jules are building their friendship. They are seen having dinner with Jules and spending time together in Milton’s home.

 The focus of the second half of the film by the director is probably seeing how Milton, Sandy, and Joyce protect Jules so other people don’t find out about the alien. However, if you broaden your viewing pleasure, you may find another theme worth attention. And that is, how important it is for grown children to respect and embrace how their senior parents want to live, generally in their own homes. Sure, Milton is forgetful sometimes, yet he can take care of himself, look after Jules, make dinner for his friends, and live independently in his house. It’s a lovely reminder of how important it is to have a discussion with parents and support their desire to live independently at home. Moving into an assisted living facility might sound easy and dreamy (meals are made, activities are planned, errands are scheduled) to children; however, the goal of many seniors is to live independent lives at home. Keep that in mind as your parents age and help them stay independent as long as possible ( as long as there aren’t cognitive issues) even if it is a little inconvenient to you.

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