New series navigates grief and independence of elderly parents
Not-for-profit aged care provider, Benetas, has launched a humorous web series to address the daily challenges that many older Australians face in maintaining independence, particularly in the case of a partner’s death.
Staring Gil Tucker of Cop Shop fame and written and directed by Australian entertainer Stig Wemyss, “My Wife Died and I’m Starving” follows fictional character Ray Wallace as he navigates life following the passing his beloved wife, Barb.
The series stemmed from the personal experience Mr Wemyss, following the unexpected loss of his mother in 2018. Mr Wemyss said that through supporting his father during this period, he discovered the multitude of challenges his father faced in being able to manage at home and continue his life in the community.
“Mum and Dad were married for over 60 years and they did everything together,” Mr Wemyss said. “Once Mum passed, it became apparent just how out of depth he was.”
Mr Wemyss was prepared for his father’s grief, but not for the steep health decline that then ensued. “The truth is, he didn’t know how to boil pasta, let alone book an appointment with the doctor.”
After speaking with his Producer Lee Robinson, who had a similar experience with her own father, the two identified the need for further educational resources in this space.
In partnership with Benetas and talking to Benetas Home Care staff, Mr Wemyss and his team developed the pilot web-series to explore clever ways to equip older Australians with the skills and tools to manage life throughout their ageing journey.
Benetas GM of Customer Insights and Marketing, Nicola Reynolds said it’s important to put a human face to the issues that many older Australians and their families face in being able to manage safely at home.
“The issues we come up against may seem trivial. How the house gets cleaned. How to cook simple nourishing food like pasta. But for many people who we work with, these can be sensitive issues to discuss.
“Feeling the loss of independence as we age and the need to adjust how we operate at home and in the community are no small feat. Particularly when this follows the loss of a life-long partner.
“By using humour and personable characters to explore these issues, we hope to provide people with a resource that not only provides guidance but engages older Australians and importantly reminds them that it’s okay to seek help and learn new domestic skills, even at 80 years of age.”
Mr Wemyss said that empowering older people with the skills to manage at home is only one part of the story. “What we’ve incorporated throughout the series are episodes on Ray reaching out for help from his grandchildren, seeking advice from his doctor and talking openly with friends.”
“Our parents often don’t feel they can ask for help and lean on their kids as a source of support. I’m very excited to share this series which will hopefully help normalise these conversations.”
This six-episode web series is coupled with informative online resources and expert advice on everyday health and life-management issues and can be found at: https://www.benetas.com.au/mwdais.
17 March 2020.