Grow Old With Me

By: Bes Young

Grow Old With Me cover image


Created on the 2013-08-07 23:48:33

Sometime during university, I became "that girl who likes old people."  And I still do.  I love them.


GROW OLD WITH ME as I travel to care homes documenting the lives and stories of Northern Irish elders.  This work uses film and collaboration to share the humorous and heartfelt sides to aging.


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  • Antrim

About the Project

 Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be...

- Robert Browning




A photo and video project shining light on the lives of Northern Irish elders. 



Care homes throughout Antrim, as well as all of Northern Ireland.



Noted essayist, Agnes Repplier, wrote, "We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.”  This project will show the humor and vivacity of our region's elders and encourage us to laugh and love along with them as they share their stories. 



Bes Young has spent five years documenting care homes and the lives of the elderly around the world including Northern Ireland, Turkey, France, Japan, and the United States.  While Bes will act as lead photographer and filmmaker, her process is considerate and inclusive; the elders involved in this project will not only be subjects, but also collaborators in the creation and design of how their stories are told.



The video above is excerpted from a film produced by Bes for Arts Care, a Belfast charity that held the Here & Now Festival in February and March of 2013.  The full film can be viewed HERE.

Other samples of her photography work in care homes are viewable at


You can VOTE for GROW OLD WITH ME by clicking the purple "VOTE FOR THIS PROJECT" button at the top of this screen.





How it works - 

Bes will travel to care homes throughout Northern Ireland in order to collaborate with elders.  The project will include photographs and video pieces chronicling the lives of these elders, with a special emphasis on the humor and laughter found in their daily lives.  The final product will resemble David Lynch's 2009 Interview Project, with short film "webisodes" sharing the stories of individual elders. Each film, however, will take on an artistic spin through collaboration and the creativity, input, and imagination of the elder involved.  



What makes it unique - 

1. A focus on aging: Far too few artistic endeavors focus on the elderly.  A lot can be learned from our elders both about the lives they lead and the lives we will lead one day. 
2. Laughter is the best medicine: This is not a care home expose meant to shock or scare.  This is a heartfelt endeavor to show the humor and laughter in the day-to-day life of Northern Irish care homes.
3. Elders as collaborators: Rarely does a documentary work consider subjects as "collaborators" in the artistic process. For this project, the older people involved have a say in how their stories are told and the creation of the final work. This is a project not only about documentation alone, but also about providing elders with the creative tools they need to make their own voices heard.


Why it will make Ireland a better place to be - 

Older people are often looked down upon or pitied, but when you think about it, ageism makes no sense.  It is the only form of prejudice where we inevitably become the other we are discriminating against.  We all hope to live full lives and grow into old age. If we take notice of the humor and vitality that fills those older years, we as a society can make Ireland a better place for older people now and a better place for ourselves in the years to come. GROW OLD WITH ME shows the personal side of aging and gives a voice to the creativity and humour of Northern Irish elders.  When you grow older, won’t you want to share your life, stories, and creativity with others, too?


What will Arthur Guinness Projects funding bring to this project?

(1) Mentorship and Guidance

(2) Full-Time Commitment

(3) Quality of Production 

(4) Wider Audience 

(5) Encouragement – The receipt of Arthur Guinness funding is not about money alone. This recognition both by the public and by a judging panel sends a clear message of support that these elders matter.  Their voices will be heard, and we want to hear them.