The world in general is a fairly stressful place these days, and seniors looking for a bit of escape in the evenings might turn on their televisions or pop in a movie. Unfortunately, even the fictional worlds of today can be a bit tense. Modern entertainment is often gritty and realistic, not always providing a true escape from the worries and stressors of the day.
For seniors in assisted living communities who are looking for books, movies and television that truly allow a bit of an escape, returning to the classics might be appropriate. Whether you’ve long loved some of these options or missed them entirely, here’s a chance to catch up with some of the most beloved characters of all time.
Anne with an E is a beloved character because of her tenacity in the face of struggle and her bright and unique outlook on the world. This red-headed orphan doesn’t always have it easy, but she forges forward into the world with an energy and determination that’s admirable and a good influence on people of all ages.
If you’d like to connect with Anne Shirley again or find out about her story for the first time, you have a ton of options. You can read the L.M. Montgomery books. The series includes:
• Anne of Green Gables
• Anne of Avonlea
• Anne of the Island
• Anne of Windy Poplars
• Anne’s House of Dreams
• Anne of Ingleside
• Rainbow Valley
• Rilla of Ingleside
The books cover Anne’s life from her childhood to her adulthood, and some of the later books focus on Anne’s children.
If you’re not a reader or you want to connect with this character another way, you can find numerous television adaptations of the books. The latest is Netflix’s “Anne with an E.”
How about four grown men who also approach life with a determination and light-heartedness, even though they take serious things seriously? Throw in some great one-liners, found-family scenarios and plenty of explosions and overturned vehicles, and you have the classic show about the A-Team.
Seniors may remember watching this show as younger adults or with their young children. Or, you may have missed the show completely. If you like fun-loving action with a heart of gold, you might want to catch up. Look for it on disc or check your streaming service to see if you can find episodes of the television show. You can also watch the 2010 movie version starring Liam Neeson as Hannibal and Bradley Cooper as Face.
Pride and Prejudice is a favorite classic love story for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the banter between Elizabeth and Darcy. This Jane Austen novel is also super easy to find, making it something seniors in assisted living communities can access.
Check with your neighbors here at Bethesda Gardens in Frisco, TX, to see if they have a copy, reserve it at the local library, buy it online or find a free or low-cost copy for your Kindle.
Pride and Prejudice is also available as a 1995 BBC miniseries starting Colin Firth as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth or as a 2005 feature-length film starting as Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth.
Horatio Hornblower is another favorite classic character for many. His impressive integrity, his naval genius and his loyalty are all something many readers and viewers can appreciate, and the adventures at sea and war from another time can be interesting to watch.
If you’re interested in following the naval antics of this hero, you can start with the books or skip straight to movies and television. The books are by C.S. Forester and include Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, Beat to Quarters and many others.
Some seniors might remember the 1951 move Captain Horatio Hornblower starring Gregory Peck as the captain himself. And in the 1990s, Ioan Gruffudd starred in a series of made-for-television movies that strung several of the Forester novels together in a mini series.
There’s no escape from reality quite so great as joining Alice as she stumbles into Wonderland. Seniors have plenty of options for going along for the ride with this character.
You can start with the books by Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Expect nonsensical stories that are more fun than meaningful and potentially slightly darker than-you-might expect narratives if you’ve only ever seen the animated classic.
Or, you can revisit the animated Disney classic and laugh as Alice goes through all the oddities of Wonderland and takes on the Queen of Hearts in a ridiculous croquet match.
Another option is a movie marathon that includes 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and 2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, both of which star Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. You could also pick from more than a dozen other adaptations.