My Little Friends

Directed by Megan Mylan

USA / 10 min

In a custom-designed facility in Mt. Kisco, New York, a very special program brings together elders with dementia and young children. The kids look right past the dementia, connecting instead with the people who have gotten lost underneath.

“Documentary filmmakers often say that film ideas find them,” says director Megan Mylan. “That’s certainly true here.”

“I was pregnant for the first time, and deeply missing one of my best friends, my grandmother Julia Mylan. She died a few years ago at age 96. Julia didn’t suffer from dementia, but she did live in a senior assisted living facility. It was quite a good place for the most part, but Julia was a dynamic and social person. She often complained that everyone around her was simply too old; she’d get close to people and then outlive them. She eventually stopped making new friends, preferring to eat in her room rather than in the dining room. Knowing she was not happy or stimulated was heart-breaking for me.

“So, when I read about the inter-generational day care model, bringing seniors with dementia together with small children, I wanted so badly to tell her about it. It made so much sense, almost seeming too simple to be truly effective.

“Simple, but brilliant. It’s amazing to watch. What happens during the day is both carefully crafted and far from common place. I know my grandmother would have thrived in an environment like My Second Home. She would have been — just like Seabrew Ford in our film — fully engaged, enlivened by the children’s energy, and would have, in turn, enriched their lives with generous smiles and gentle, patient words.”

 
 

Other films in the series

slide-2 

De ‘mem’bunce (The Remembrance)

Directed by Roger Ross Williams

band-featured 

Let the Band Play On

Directed by Naomi Boak

pluto-featured 

A Place Called Pluto

Directed by Steve James