Remembering the past, enhancing the present and sharing the future: A qualitative study of the impact of film screenings in care home communities

Jenna P. Breckenridge*, Thilo Kroll, Gavin Wylie, Ana Salzberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Many care home residents lack opportunities for meaningful activity and social connection, resulting in poor physical and emotional wellbeing. Providing residents with varied activities and social opportunities can improve their quality of life. In this paper, we examine the potential for film to provide a meaningful, social activity. The limited existing research on film in care homes has predominantly examined the use of film clips and materials in stimulating reminiscence for people with dementia. In this paper, we adopt a broader, trans-disciplinary perspective of film, drawing on evidence from Film Studies that shared spectatorship has social and emotional benefits for the viewer. We offer the first qualitative study of care home residents' social, emotional and embodied engagement with feature-length film and identify the key benefits of film in this setting. We ran social film screenings in two Scottish care homes over six weeks. Underpinned by psycho-cinematic theory, we collected and analysed observational data alongside interviews with care home staff and discussion groups with residents. Our findings identified three ways in which film screenings benefit residents and supports social connection: prompting reminiscence; enhancing residents' experiences in the present; and creating a shared future and intergenerational connections. The paper offers useful insights into the rich potential for film to enhance the care home community, facilitate social connectivity and promote resident wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2615-2640
Number of pages26
JournalAgeing & Society
Issue number11
Early online date4 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • care homes
  • film
  • meaningful activity
  • psycho-cinematics
  • social connectivity


Dive into the research topics of 'Remembering the past, enhancing the present and sharing the future: A qualitative study of the impact of film screenings in care home communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this