You’ll only get to know Phyllis and Joe Sabatini for 29 minutes, but you will feel like you’ve known them for a lifetime. I saw much of my mom in the adorable yet feisty Phyllis. No doubt many of you will be able to recognize characteristics of your elderly relatives in this strong, loving couple.
The couple, married 62 years, live with an adult daughter, and you can clearly see how much genuine love flows through that house.
But at 89 and 90, Joe’s health issues are becoming a major concern for the couple, and the couple’s adult children, who coordinate their living arrangements and health care. Phyllis doesn’t want to be a physical, emotional or financial burden on her daughter any more, who is raising her own child, age 9, hence the title of the short film.
The unusual solution Phyllis comes up with will likely surprise you. It’s not a choice most people would make, but it was seen as the best for their family. I’m not going to reveal any spoilers, but the film raises a lot of interesting issues about aging in place and the sandwich generation.
I have a lot of respect for the family, who talk openly about the realities of aging and death. These discussions are not always easy, especially for the granddaughter, but I think she will end up appreciating the fact that her family included her in such discussions. All too often, we overprotect children from the realities of life, but children are curious and resilient, and don’t always want to be shut out of such family matters.
I hope you get a chance to check it out. If you do see it, let me know what you thought about it. I watched it on the PBS channel on my Roku. The website for the film is called Nine To Ninety.