Good Neighbours

(Goede buren)
Netherlands 2018. Dir: Stella van Voorst van Beest. 82 min. DCP

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! When an elderly Rotterdam woman lay dead in her apartment for ten years before her body was discovered, residents of the Dutch city were appalled. To prevent recurrences, city council launched a campaign to combat loneliness, including home visits to everyone over the age of 75 to assess their level of isolation. In this documentary, friends and neighbours Ada (59) and Wilma (70) volunteer to knock on doors. They meet octogenarians Jan, a widower with mobility problems who’s been housebound for seven years, and Tilly, a feisty soul who insists the company of her beloved dog is all she needs. Aggrieved by the neglect they encounter, and overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, Ada and Wilma put aside their official questionnaires and take action. This heartbreaking and timely film asks, “What do I owe my neighbours?” and, inevitably, “Who will care for me when I am old?”

Post-screening discussion with Eddy Elmer, PhD candidate, Social Gerontology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; and Board member, B.C. Psychogeriatric Association. While serving three terms on the City of Vancouver Seniors' Advisory Committee, he created the 2018 report “Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Seniors in Vancouver,” available online at http://www.seniorsloneliness.ca

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.