On Old Age I: a Conversation with Joan Erikson At 90


"Wisdom and integrity are something that other people may see in an old person, but it’s not what that old person is feeling. That’s what kind of roused me up to see what it was that old people do feel and what they have to face...."

With the above quote, Joan M. Erikson begins a frank and personal re-examination of the last stage of the life cycle. She and her husband Erik Erikson formulated their eight stage life cycle theory during their middle years, and Mrs. Erikson believes they tended to romanticize the eighth stage in which she is now living.

This film was shot in 1993 when Mrs. Erikson was about to celebrate her 90th birthday. With great grace, humor and some feistiness, Mrs. Erikson takes on a wide range of topics from forgetfulness, coping with physical limitations and facing death. The film is a thought-provoking experience for everyone interested in developmental psychology and for all who live or work with an older person, or are planning to be old themselves.