Sales Manager Nicolette Casula wanted the world to know about Juanita, a memory care resident in her community with an inspirational story. After being wheelchair-bound for several years, Juanita declared she would not only walk again, but she was going to dance. After seeing her hard work and determination, and watching her dance, Casula and the Brookdale Oklahoma City Southwest team knew Juanita’s story needed to be told. We talked to Casula about the making of their film “Determination Becomes Inspiration.”
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What were you trying to say with this film?
Casula: The biggest message we are trying to get across is breaking the barriers among the elder population. Age is just a number. That doesn’t mean we can’t set goals, we can’t make improvements, we can’t be healthier, we can’t look forward to things. This was all Juanita. It was her willpower that she wanted to keep on dancing.
Why was that topic important to you?
Casula: We are a memory care community, and generally that perception is quite negative. “What life is left?” is a general misconception we hear about people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. We want to fight against this disease and show others that regardless of age, anything is possible. We’ll find a way to do whatever our residents want to do.
How many people participated in making this film?
Casula: We had about 10-15 people who helped out on our film.
How many hours did you spend on the film, including writing, shooting and editing?
Casula: We started filming in December and submitted in July, and we probably spent about 80 hours throughout that time.
What was the most challenging part of the film making process?
Casula: It was hard to put everything we wanted in the film because we had a time limit. We wanted to tell more of Juanita’s story. We could’ve easily made an hour long film with just what we had.
How did this project help connect residents and associates at Brookdale?
Casula: To sit back and watch how the film and process inspired our care associates is pretty phenomenal. We still have a connection when we talk about the film in groups of our residents and it motivates our other residents as well
What did you like best about creating a film?
Casula: Hanging out with Juanita and sharing this experience is the best. She is so excited. Watching her and sharing her story has been amazing. At a resident council meeting, Juanita announced she wanted to not only walk, but dance again. All I knew was Juanita being in a wheelchair. We don’t know how long she has been in a wheelchair. She started by putting a chair five to ten feet from her dining chair and getting help [walking] to her chair and it just evolved.
She does have dementia, so her creating this task in her mind and waking up and knowing and recalling that goal… it’s amazing and we helped when we could but there was never a day she woke up and didn’t remember her goal. This gave her so much purpose. It’s still giving her purpose.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your film or your crew?
Casula: We couldn’t have done it without the group. It took our entire team.