Westbrook's 'Must-See' TV Celebrated on 20th Anniversary

Aging Today, May/June 2003 | Go to article overview
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Westbrook's 'Must-See' TV Celebrated on 20th Anniversary


Over the past 20 years, registrants at American Society on Aging (ASA) annual meeting have been able to visit a darkened conference room to screen in excess of 1,000 film and video productions that might be useful in professional training to stimulate discussion among elders at senior centers or other location. To create and organize this annual Media Festival, G. Jay Westbrook has reviewed and selected those programs from thousands more during each intervening year, purely on a volunteer basis.

Westbrook, a clinical gerontologist based in Van Nuys, Calif., was honored with a rarely presented Special Recognition Award by ASA's Board of Directors during the recent 2003 Joint Conference of ASA and the National Council on the Aging, held in Chicago. Not only has he run the Media Festival for two decades, Westbrook has chaired the association's End-of-Life Issues Committee since its inception.

Today, he is a pain management-palliative care specialist for Tender Loving Care Home Hospice (TLC) of Moor-park, Calif., and for his own compamy, HealthWaves, Ltd. Last year at TLC, he helped design and open the first palliative care and bereavement center at an acute care hospital in California. At HealthWave, he performs geriatric sessments, care management and pain management, and provides consultation and education to professionals nationwide. He is also a frequent faculty presenter at ASA conferences.

This year Westbrook picked 47 productions in II categories, including long term care, spirituality, mental health, end-of-life issues, Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, and family caregiving. Here is a-selection of his reviews, including many of Westbrook's "Must See" reviews; For a PDF file of the complete, annotated list, Aging Today readers can go to www.agingtoday.org for the May-June 2003 issue. Following is a selection of Westbrook's reviews.

Maggie Growls (Women Mate Movies, 57 minutes). Must See! Don't miss this amazing new Women Make Movies documentary by Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater. The work profiles the life of Gray Panther founder and leader Maggie Kuhn and provides a marvelous profile of this amazing woman.

Freedom of Sexual Expression (Terra Nova, 16 minutes). Narrated by Anne Meara, this video reinforces the fact that basic desires for love and touch transcend any perceived boundaries of age or dementia. The work tastefully explores various types of sexual expression, the effects of these expressions on long-term care residents, and the residents' rights to express these emotions in ways that are not harmful to themselves or others. The video also acknowledges that the continued pleasures of touch and intimacy can benefit residente' emotional well-being by easing feelings of loneliness and depression.

Minimizing Disruptive Behaviors (Health Professions Press, 21 minutes). Part of the Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings multimedia (print and video) training package, this work presents easy-to-impleinent ideas to make a facility's care culture more supportive of individual residents. The work focuses on both the physical environment and best staff practices.

Divided Loyalties (Aquarius Health Care Videos, 28 minutes). Must See! This video shows ways in which grandparents have helped themselves, and ways communities have supported their efforts, ft is an excellent resource for college students, support groups and mental health professionals.

Springtime of Autumn: Creating Meaning Throughout the Lifespan (GeroWise Educational Services, 25 minutes). This video explores the universal search for meaning and emphasizes the potential for creating purpose and meaning throughout the lifespan. Interviews with Hispanic, American Indian and other elders highlight the role of attitude in creating purpose and in healing,

More Than Skin Deep (Fanlight Productions, 25 minutes).

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