Humans are social animals, connected by the relationships we build over a lifetime. But the process of aging can be isolating and put us at risk for loneliness – and that, as NPT explored in a previous Aging Matters documentary – can have negative effects on our health. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy, the 16th documentary in Nashville Public Television’s NPT Reports: Aging Matters series, considers various kinds of relationships and intimacy issues, including romantic companionship and discussions of sexuality and sexual activity as we age. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy premieres Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 9 p.m. on NPT and will be followed at 9:30 p.m. by a frank discussion about the sex lives of older adults.
A luncheon and preview screening of Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy will be held Dec. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at FiftyForward Patricia Hart Building. The event is free, but RSVPs are required at wnpt.org/events. Panelists for the post-screening discussion are retired nurse practitioner and certified sex therapist Ginger Manley (Assisted Loving: The Journey Through Sexuality and Aging); Monet Shell, a therapist at Insight Counseling; and Dan Surface, founder of the “Refired Not Retired” men’s group sponsored by Mental Health America Mid-South and FiftyForward. FiftyForward’s Gretchen Funk will moderate the discussion.
There are many levels of relationships, from deep connections to casual interactions. Research suggests they all matter and they all influence your health and wellbeing. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy includes commentary from specialists in medicine, psychology and social work, as well as men and women who discuss their own situations and relationships. The participants address adjusting to new surroundings, creating new friendships or finding new love after losing a spouse.
“Finding someone you love when you’re young is very important, very exciting,” says Frances Hahn in the program. “But finding someone you love after you’ve been widowed is really special, and should really be encouraged and fostered,”
Supporting the relationships of older adults may require unlearning accepted beliefs about aging. This includes having conversations that may be challenging, but are essential to living life to the fullest.
“We plan for retirement financially; we need to plan for retirement socially,” says Julianne Holt-Leunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, in the documentary.
Other experts appearing in the documentary are Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and medicine-geriatrics at the University of Chicago; Annamarie Pluhar, president of Sharing Housing Inc.; Carrie Plummer, assistant professor of nursing at Vanderbilt School of Nursing; and Manoj Pardasani, professor of social work at Hunter College/City University of New York.
The panel discussion airing after the documentary is a conversation about sexual drive and activity of older adults, as well as related health indicators and concerns. Taking part in the conversation are Renee Burwell, a certified sex therapist at Pandora’s Awakening and executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Sexual Health; Dr. David Duong, urologist at Urology Associates in Nashville; Brooke Faught, a women’s health nurse practitioner and director of the Women’s Institute for Sexual Health at Urology Associates; and Ginger Manley, a retired nurse practitioner and certified sex therapist (author of Assisted Loving: The Journey Through Sexuality and Aging).
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.
- Friday, Dec. 20, at 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on NPT2
- Monday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. on NPT2
Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy was produced by Will Pedigo, whose previous Aging Matters documentaries include Legal Help and Aging & the Workplace. Pedigo also produced NPT’s Emmy-nominated documentary Voyage of Adventure: Retracing John Donelson’s Journey.
The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Foundation and Cigna-HealthSpring. Additional support was provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.