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press reaction

Sam Allis The Boston Globe

"… 'Living Old' presents a brutal, relentless picture of what happens to the rest of us, particularly the burgeoning population of the very old. This is the cohort of Americans over 85, who are, as the percentage, the fastest-growing group in the country. …

"Images affect us here in ways that text simply can't. Mimi [sic] Navasky and Karen O'Connor, who together wrote, produced and directed the program, spare us nothing in terms of graphic human decline or thorny ethical issues around life and death. …

"The footage of the very old in nursing homes, together with the pronouncements of experts about the inability of the American health care system to cope with the present situation, let alone what's coming, are chilling. …"


Walt Belcher The Tampa Tribune

"Life after 85 doesn't look so appealing on tonight's new 'Frontline' program …

"'Living Old' explores how medical science has made it possible for people to live longer but without the quality of life that we would desire. …

"The documentary paints a bleak future for those who may face illnesses that rob them of physical and mental abilities


Dick Kreck The Denver Post

"Don't look for seniors playing volleyball on a sun-splashed beach or climbing fourteeners in 'Living Old,' a relentlessly downbeat look at the medical and emotional side of living long but not well. The hour-long episode of 'Frontline' … projects a bleak old-age future for almost all of us. Yes, even you. Face it. …

"Right now, over-80s are the fastest-growing segment of our population, and 60 percent of those over 85 will live out their days in a nursing home. Baby boomers, faced with caring for ailing parents, are getting a preview of what may lie in their futures. …"


John Doyle The Globe and Mail

"Living Old … is a thoughtful, powerful examination of life as an elderly person in the United States today. It's also downright scary. Over the next few years, we're told, the number of U.S. citizens over the age of 65 will double. But the U.S. is not prepared for this. …

"Many of the elderly are living lives that neither they nor their families ever planned for or imagined. It's a matter of cost and care. And the number of doctors who specialize in geriatric care is tiny."


Virginia Heffernan The New York Times

"The very old are different from you and me. They have more age. Seriously, folks, I'm trying to save you the trouble of watching 'Living Old,' about our nation's mass geriatric society, tonight on 'Frontline' on PBS.

"But, more seriously, 'Living Old is not a bad documentary, filled as it is with lively old folks and facts galore about chronic diseased, physical decline and nonagenarians and their overburdened 70-something children. It puts on display the suffering that awaits us all, which is important, in its way, but also troublesome."


Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"With typical 'Frontline' straightforwardness and sensitivity, producers Miri Navasky and Karen O'Connor explore the challenges that await an American population that's living longer but not necessarily better. …

"The program doesn't offer a cure-all solution, because there isn't one. But it does raise an increasingly important issue, experts share their advice and viewers are left to ponder what living to a ripe old age will mean to them and to their families."


Tom Dorsey The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

"Everybody thinks that they want to live as long as they can, but many of those who are older are having their doubts as 'Frontline' details in 'Living Old' …

"Those past 80 in relatively good health want to go on, but many who have lost any quality of life question whether it is worth it. …

"Few people want to think about this, but the realities are looming on the horizon as the baby boomers, the largest population bulge in American history, head into their senior years."

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posted nov. 21, 2006

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